27 December, 2017. American Samoa – She is the founder of the annual tattoo festival in American Samoa, credited with helping to revive the art of the tatau there and making Samoan tattoos “a bigger export than NFL players”. Tisa Faamuli is also an eco-tourism pioneer who manages the Alega Marine Reserve and Tisa’s Barefoot Bar with her husband. We caught up with her recently to ask about her reflections on 2017 and goals for the coming year.
Eco-tourism pioneer Tisa Faamuli is looking forward to the New Year with hope for renewed commitment by Samoans everywhere to “be Samoan first.”
“As pioneer of eco-tourism and founder of Tisa’s Tattoo Festival, in American Samoa, we are very proud to accomplish our main business goal of becoming environmentally friendly,” Faamuli told Samoa Planet from Alega, American Samoa.
“To accomplish this goal, Tisa’s Barefoot Bar has summed up the courage to reduce our business operations to reflect our low footprint activities on our beautiful environment. We’ve put a cap on the number of visitors per cruise ship on cruise ship days in Pago Pago.”
She says they’ve been “proud” to inspire an eco-tourism movement in American Samoa.
“Over 10 environmentally friendly businesses on island are about to kick off and/or are already in eco-tourism business operation including a couple in Aunuu Island,” Faamuli said. “It’s been exciting to be an inspiration for our community.”
In 2018, she challenges Samoan parents to teach children to be “Samoan first” and seek to “build up American Samoa as a role model for green tourism in the Pacific.”
“My sincere hope for 2018 is to inspire a Samoa Mo Samoa movement. I challenge every Samoan parent and grandparent to teach children to be Samoan first,” Faamuli said.
“I learned in my grandchildren’s classroom that most kids are learning to be something else other than Samoan. Most are lost when it comes to their identity. I hope to inspire our indigenous people to take ownership of their identity, land and resources.”
For American Samoa, she plans to continue the quiet movement of establishing American Samoa as the ideal model for Green Tourism.
“It is my goal and vision that our quiet movement to build up American Samoa as an ideal role model for Green Tourism in the South Pacific becomes a reality next year. The people are ready for it,” Faamuli said.
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