Marriage Laws a Hurdle to Wedding Tourists

American Samoa is losing out on the lucrative marriage tourism which island countries like Samoa, Fiji, Cook islands and others are gaining a foothold in.

Executive Director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau David Vaeafe says the territory’s tourism master plan developed by off island consultants with funding by the Department of Interior several years ago recommends the promotion of the territory as a destination for couples to get married in.

However he said the territory’s marriage laws are stringent especially for non US citizens and nationals.

A couple wishing to get married in American Samoa must obtain a marriage license from the Registrar of the Office of Vital Statistics and there is a 30 day waiting period from the time the application is lodged before a license is issued.

Applicants must obtain consent of their parents.

Vaeafe says in order to attract marriage tourism there needs to be a review of the marriage requirements.

He said other islands are making a killing from couples  choosing to tie the knot in the Pacific islands.

He said American Samoa is missing out on such opportunities because of the strict rules for obtaining marriage licenses.

Vaeafe recommends that the current requirements be relaxed and this is something the Visitors Bureau may have to propose.

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