Samoa to switch time zone

May 09 2011

Samoa to switch time zone

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The South Pacific island nation of Samoa, which is located approximately halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, has announced its plan to switch to the west side of the international dateline. Samoa has switched time zones before. 119 years ago it moved to its current time zone in order to “boost its trade and economy”. At the time, their main trade partners were  the United States and Europe, so it made sense for them to switch to a more compatible time zone. Now, the nation is switching back for similar reasons. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielgaoi said that with this time zone change, it will be “far, far easier and more convenient” for Samoa to do business with New Zealand and Australia, their key partners. According to Tuilaepa, “Samoa is currently losing out on two working days a week doing business with New Zealand and Australia”.

The result of this time zone change is that Samoa will be losing a day, as they jump forward in time. Samoa has promoted itself as being “the last place on earth to see the sun each day”, but with the change they better think of a new marketing campaign. However with this time change, Samoa would be put in a different time zone than American Samoa, and the Prime Minister sees this as great tourism opportunity.With just a 30-minute flight, you can re-live the last 24 hours. Tuilaepa said in a statement,

“I think there will be a very exciting experience and it is an experience that we could exploit jointly for tourist promotion, especially with the need to have a holiday, have a birthday celebrated in western Samoa, and then hop over and have the same birthday celebrated in eastern Samoa, that will be very exciting,”

This change will not be fully in effect until January 2012.

6 Responses to “Samoa to switch time zone”

  1. fsimpson Says:

    I guess I don’t really understand time change but I kinda thought it was sort of set. That you can’t really control what time the sun rises and when it sets. I guess what is changing is their perception of time, which looking at from a cultural perspective will be interesting to see. I know that if eastern time were changed and we lost a whole 24 hours people would be in an uproar. Our frame of mind is that time is money, an no one wants to imagine how much money has been lost with 24 hours.

  2. mrurka Says:

    I think that this corresponds nicely with what we were talking about in class the other day about the international political economy. I think that this is a great example of economics influencing politics. Samoa is changing its time zone, not because it is trying to serve a political agenda, but because it is trying to, as you say, “boost its trade and economy.”

  3. jroycroft Says:

    I would have never thought that changing time zones could have a positive effect on international trade. But it sounds like they have false hopes that this time zone change will boost their tourism economy. Their statement of “the last place on earth to see the sun each day” does not increase my desire to travel to Samoa.

  4. jwolf3 Says:

    That is a brilliant marketing strategy… I’d do it.

  5. crice6 Says:

    This is an interesting move to improve economic activity and trade. I feel like it would be a lot harder to market your country as significant this way. but an interesting move either way.

  6. jweiss5 Says:

    First of all, is the the place that the girl scout cookie is named after? Second, I have never heard of this happening! This is so bizarre to me. I think it’s pretty funny that their slogan: “With just a 30-minute flight, you can re-live the last 24 hours.” I think now that people realize that time is of the essence, this will appeal to a myriad of tourists.

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