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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Samoa to leap a day into the future

The Pacific island of Samoa is to become a nation of time-travellers by catapulting itself 24 hours into the future.

After December 29, Samoa will skip a day and go straight to December 31, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The change will put the Pacific island nation on the same weekday as its neighbours to the west, including Australia and New Zealand, and it is aimed at making trade with the countries easier.

The move comes 119 years after the island last shifted time zones, moving from west to east in 1892 in order to align with US traders in California.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said: "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 on Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane."
But the move has worried tourism operators who have long sold holidays to the islands on the grounds that they are the last place to see the sunset each day.

Andrew Tiatia, a local tour guide, said a unique selling point would be lost: "Once that's gone, we're just like the rest of the world," he said.

But the prime minister points out that visitors to the Samoan islands will now be able to celebrate the same day twice, by hopping between Samoa and American Samoa, an hour's flight away.

"You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two wedding anniversaries on the same date on separate days without leaving the Samoan chain," he said.

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