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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sheraton - a new era for Samoa tourism

A new era for the Samoa tourism industry dawns today, with the beginning of a relationship between the owners of both Aggie Grey’s Hotel Limited (AGHL) and the Aggie Grey’s Beach Resort and Spa (AGBRS), and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide which owns the Sheraton brand.
Starwood today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with AGHL and AGBRS during a brief ceremony in Apia attended by the Prime Minister of Samoa, Honorable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr Sailele Malielegaoi (who is also the Minister for Tourism), Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials, tourism industry representatives and local and international media representatives. Mr Siddharth Narang (Vice President North America and Global Acquisitions and Developments) signed on behalf of Starwood while Lavea Tupaimatuna Iulai Lavea (Chairman of the AGBRS board) and Lupesina Frederick Grey (representing AGHL) signed on behalf of the two Aggie Grey’s hotel properties.
The potential entry of Starwood into the Samoan tourism market is seen as a sign of confidence by a strong and renowned global brand in the future tourism and economic prospects for Samoa and also in the international marketing of Samoa as tourist destination. In congratulating the parties for the entering into the proposed management arrangements, the Prime Minister, Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi commented that “this partnership provides a clear demonstration of foreign investor confidence to invest in Samoa - a goal we have always aspired to achieve over the years"
Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, the two Aggie’s properties will become part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide family. At the same time all aspects of the resort and the hotel facilities and service will be reviewed and modified to comply with the Sheraton’s standards before the brand “Sheraton” is unveiled in late 2014. The strong Sheraton and Aggie Grey’s trademarks will be combined in the proposed names of the hotels – Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resort and Spa. After signing the MOU Lavea Tupaimatuna Iulai said " I am excited about this partnership as it means enhanced shareholder value. We stand to gain significant benefits as a business and as shareholders in addition to the overarching benefits the economy will enjoy."
Starwood owns the internationally-acclaimed Sheraton, Westin and Le Meridien hotel brands, among others. It is the world’s largest luxury hotel operator, with more than

1134 hotels in its portfolio. Lupesina Frederick Grey who is also the CEO of the AGBRS property was also looking forward to the new systems to be brought in under the new management arrangements "Starwood systems and programmes include a world-class sales organisation and a regionally-based marketing team that will design packages, promotions and initiatives tailored for each of the Aggie’s properties". Both parties will work together over the next few weeks to finalise the definitive agreements.
Another key benefit for the rebranded properties is Starwood’s strong guest loyalty programme which provides guests with incentives to spend more while they are in Samoa and to keep coming back. Starwood’s talented hotel managers will share their knowledge to optimise efficiency and service delivery at both AGHL and AGBRS. A consequential flow-on of benefits to others in the hospitality industry will be a general lifting of the overall standards of the Samoan hospitality services sector.
The Prime Minister made special acknowledgement of the contribution of Laauli Alan Grey" ...for the vision to invest and set up the Aggie Greys Beach Resort" This day could not have happened had it not been for La’auli Alan Grey’s vision in conceptualising and developing the beach resort. The people of Samoa are the beneficiaries of that vision as the largest shareholder in the resort is the Samoa National Provident Fund. Special thanks must also be given to La’auli Alan Grey for committing Aggie Grey’s Hotel to manage the resort, without charging a management fee, since it opened for business in 2006 to allow the resort time to become commercially viable.
The Starwood delegation visiting Samoa consists of Mr Robert Hermany CEO North America. Sid Narang, Vice President Development and Acquisitions and Chris Rabang, Transitions Manager for Samoa.
The owners of both Aggie Grey branded properties wish also to express their appreciation to other regional and international hotel groups who lodged management proposals earlier this year.