The Poutasi Village, Falealili has officially been recognised and certified as a Model Village by the World Rural Tourism Conference.

They have earned a reputation for good leadership and innovation, under their Poutasi Development Trust, after they have successfully created an eco-system that produces economic and social benefits for their residents and surrounding villages through rural tourism.

The announcement was made by at the World Rural Tourism Conference at the in September, in partnership with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).

The Poutasi Development trust was founded by Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale.

In August 2021, Samoa joined the World Rural Tourism Conference (WRTC) initiative; an organisation that aims to help their members better promote high-quality and sustainable rural tourism development.

And with the establishment of Poutasi Village as a World Rural Tourism Industrial Model Village, the rural community in Falealili is now placed in the Top 100 Cities category of the WRTC after meeting certain criteria.

The Samoa Tourism Authority, Chief Executive Officer, Faamatuainu Suifua Lenatai said this is a timely initiative to highlight what Samoa has to offer and also identify innovative strategies to support Samoa Tourism’s development goals through exchanges, additional opportunities and trainings.

He said the Poutasi Development Trust (PDT) has demonstrated that a regenerative approach to leveraging tourism for infrastructure development in a sustainable manner, while preserving their cultural values can be a thriving enterprise.

The Poutasi Development Trust was founded in 2009 in the wake of the tragic Tsunami which devastated their community. Over a decade later, the pioneering village of Poutasi has gone from strength to strength, balancing tradition and technology to develop their village as tourist destination.

The PDT Director, Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale said: “villages do not just happen, they take many generations to develop and evolve into what they are today.

“Unfortunately, with the Pandemic, we face very challenging times and we have had to be innovative in how we deal with those challenges and the changes that we have found necessary to sustain families and maintain peace and harmony”.

“We also owe much to our past leaders and ancestors who set high standards that they strive to emulate and maintain and our many Friends and Partners who, over the year have helped us on our journey, we would not have made it without them” added Tuatagaloa.

He added they are truly humbled by the Award and acknowledged the Samoa Tourism Authority for the nomination.