Lenara Lana Tuipoloa‐Utuva, National University of Sāmoa and Brent Lovelock, University of Otago.
Apolima Island is the least populated island of Sāmoa, with a natural environmental and cultural setting that could potentially add value to Sāmoa’s sustainable tourism future. However, to date, Apolima Island has remained is‐engaged from tourism activities. This study focused on understanding why tourism has not manifested on the island, using talanoa1 as a method of social inquiry to obtain community perceptions as well as those of the tourism sector, of the potential for community based sustainable tourism development. Themes narrate these findings indicating an overall acceptance of small‐scale tourism developments amongst the community members. However, the community felt that it was more important for other developments (mainly infrastructural) to occur before tourism activities begin. This study contributes to our knowledge of island tourism, specifically South Pacific tourism highlighting the sustainable tourism spectrum in Sāmoa and the challenges associated with peripherality. Furthermore it contributes to the use of talanoa as an appropriate method for indigenous researchers to retrieve data from an indigenous population.
Keywords: community based tourism, sustainable tourism development, island tourism, peripherality, talanoa.