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By Dean Kilpatrick on 26.5.2023

Trade and Tourism Fuel Samoan Time Travel Plans

The South Pacific nation of Samoa is skipping a day to help the island beat the recession. On 29 December, the country is planning to jump forward in time by a day to move to the same timeline as its Oceania neighbours.

A major reason for the change is that it is expected to help the nation’s economy. This is because, by swapping over to the west side of the international date line, Samoa will be about 3-4 hours ahead of the island’s biggest trading partners – Australia and New Zealand – rather than 21 hours behind as they are now.

Ironically, the move comes 119 years after Samoa changed its time zone to meet the needs of its biggest trading partners at the time – America and mainland Europe.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi said that that the reform is necessary to boost the island’s economy.

He told government newspaper Silavi: “In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we’re losing out on two working days a week. While it’s Friday here, it’s Saturday in New Zealand and when we’re at church Sunday they’re already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane.”

It is also hoped that the time jump will help boost tourism for the nation, as the shift will allow people to cross the international date line and celebrate a big event twice. Mr Malielegaoi explained: “You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two anniversaries on the same date – on separate days.”

Kiribati was the last country to shift time zones back in 1995.

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