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A case we should all learn from: Downturn hits Samoan Minister’s family hotel hard

"It offers something new for Nadi and people should watch that space. The first MaiLife cafe was opened in Ba last year."
09 Mar 2019 15:12
A case we should all learn from: Downturn hits Samoan Minister’s family hotel hard
Pictured: From left: Women In Business president Nur Bano Ali, (seated from left): WIB executive Anabel Ali, Minister for Trade Premila Kumar and Minister for Women Mereseini Vuniwaqa, WIB executive Sarah-Jane Wild, ANZ Fiji Country Head Saud Minam, Fiji National Provident Fund chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi, Westpac Fiji chief executive Kip Hanna, Lawyer Sharma Devanesh and Fijian Holdings Limited Group chief executive officer Nouzab Fareed. Photo: Maraia Vula

 

A downturn in Samoa’s Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibi­tions (MICE) industry has forced a senior politician’s family to put their hotel up for sale for $14.4 mil­lion tala (FJ$ 11.78m).

The Moanalisa Hotel located at Vaitele is owned by the family of the Samoan Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt.

This should be a lesson for to us, that we should ready and have con­tigency plans in place. Especially with the MICE industry as one of the key sectors.

About Moanalisa Hotel

Moanalisa Hotel is managed by his wife, Elizabeth Hunt, and their daughter, Moanalisa Hunt.

Mrs Hunt and her daughter did not respond to requests by the Sa­moa Observer for comments.

However, the Minister confirmed the dire situation of the family-owned hotel when contacted by this newspaper, and explained the rationale behind his family’s deci­sion to sell.

“I started this business with the understanding the tourism indus­try is thriving, 10 years later sadly that is not the case,” Tialavea said.

“As soon as I became a Cabinet Minister my shares were given to my children. I sold the construc­tion equipment to my son’s compa­ny, and my wife and daughter took over ownership of the hotel.

“We spent over $4 million tala (FJ$3.2m) on the project and this was possible through a loan from Development Bank of Samoa of $2.1 (FJ$1.7 m); $1 million tala (FJ$0.8m) from Samoa Commer­cial Bank and the rest came from the construction company.

“And I regret going into the hotel business, it was the wrong deci­sion.

“I should’ve built rental homes, at the time.”

The hotel opened for business in 2009 and was placed on the mar­ket in January this year. It has 22 rooms, six villas, a swimming pool and a restaurant.

The hotel is located in the Samo­an capital and its proximity to the Faleolo International Airport.

Mr Tialavea said: “The hotel ca­ters to different sets of clientele; we only have customers when the hotels play host for conferences and meetings, but the tourists they opt for resorts in the rural areas.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj a

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