Samoa Tourism Authority‘s official plan to switch time zones to the west of the international dateline will make it become the first place to see the sunrise in 2012. Samoa currently lies to the east of the dateline, a decision made 120 years ago to keep the nation in the same time zone as the USA and Europe for trade purposes. The timezone change at the end of 2011 reverses this decision reflecting the growth of business and trade options with nations west of the dateline such as Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific rim. According to CEO STA, Matatamalii Sonja Hunter, the dateline change will definitely affect tourism – in a positive way. She comments: “The response from our overseas partners has been encouraging, as Samoa will now be on the same side as its main travel and trade allies being Australia and New Zealand. We may be moving to the future, but Samoa will always be known as the last bastion of Polynesian culture. Visitors will find a unique, traditional way of living that is 3,000 years old called Fa’a Samoa that celebrates traditional values such as caring for each other and the environment which guarantees a rich and valuable experience for all visitors to our shore.” Hunter continues “Soon we will no longer be the last place on earth to see the sunset, but we will gain the honour of being one of the first nations to see the sunrise of the New Year, a brilliant way to start 2012 – our Celebrate Samoa Year. 2012 will be a big year for us and we encourage everyone to come and visit and join in on the celebrations.”
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