2019 Pacific Games organisers confident despite hiccups

The Pacific Games Office remains confident athletes will be provided with suitable accommodation during next year's event in Samoa, despite being forced to change their original plans.

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed last month between the Samoa Government and accommodation providers in Upolu and Savai'i.

But the majority of athletes will now base themselves at the Methodist Church of Samoa's Faleula compound after officials were only able to convince 30 hotels to come on board, which will only cater for one quarter of the 4000 beds required.

Games CEO Falefata Hele Ei Matatia said competing with a busy tourism sector provided added complications.

"July has been indicated as a peak season for the tourism sector so it doesn't take away anything from the ones that have not signed in," he said.

"Plus there are key requirements that have been stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement that has been set up to make sure we meet the standards that is required, which is making sure we have the necessities that are in the actual bids to provide for the athletes as well as the officials that will be here for the Games."

Falefata said the Games Office is continuing discussions with the hotel sector about possibly coming on board in the future.

"Our focus from the beginning was to work with our private sector to ensure that we're investing back in our local private sector and our people," he said.

"It hasn't steered away from that because we're still working with the hoteliers to accommodate for our thousand plus officials, technical officials and other supporting service that will be part of the Games."

"We have secured the Methodist Faleula compound, which is pretty much a centralised hub/village, which will see all the athletes stay in houses for the actual Games," Falefata said.

"We're finalising our vetting process for the hotels in the CDM area here in Apia that we will be signing up to house our officials as well as the technical delegates that will be here as well as the VVIPs.

"But we have signed all of the hotels in the CDM in Savai'i which will accommodate the boxing so we are still using hotels as well as Faleula to host."

Falefata Hele Ei Matatia insisted the Pacific Games Office was running smoothly despite the resignation of the director of the Organising Committee, Aveau Niko Palamo.

The former Samoa Olympic Committee boss Aveau was appointed in May but quit last month following a breakdown in the working relationship with the chief executive.

Falefata said Aveau had not been directly replaced but they have appointed someone who has picked up a number of the role's responsibilities.

"Also we have our sports operation manager, who was working together with Mr Palamo at the time, who has taken a whole heap of that role which has given us a smooth transition into all the work that was done by Mr Palamo in the time that he was here," he said.

"So there wasn't so much of a disturbance in terms of what needed to be done so yes we're sailing smoothly."

Test events were held in Apia recently for basketball and triathlon and Falefata said all Pacific Games venues should be completed and ready for use by the end of May.

With Christmas fast approaching and just over six months to go until the July 7 Opening Ceremony in Apia, he said officials were confident everything was on track.

"At the moment we're definitely finalising our accommodation strategy, making sure that we have facilities up and running and be ready for next year," he said.

"The venues is one of the big tickets but it's tracking along really nicely and I'm really pleased with how our local contractors are (going) in terms of renovation and the refurbishment of the venues here.

"We also have sponsorship which we will be looking at finalising next week."