Samoa leaps ahead with date change
Monday 09 May 2011
The South Pacific island nation of Samoa has announced it will jump forward in time by one day by switching to the west side of the international dateline - 119 years after it moved the other way in a bid to boost its trade and economy.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi cited the same reasons for shifting back, saying moving forward a day will make doing business with key partners Australia and New Zealand "far, far easier and more convenient."
The move will see the independent Polynesian nation share the same date and a similar time as its Pacific neighbours, including Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa and neighbouring American Samoa lay west of the international dateline until 1892, when a US business trader convinced both to switch to the east, moving back to the previous day's date. Samoa has long marketed itself as the last place on earth to see the sun each day.
"A local trader lobbied successfully for the change as it was convenient for trading ships from Europe and the United States that were servicing Samoa at the time," Mr Tuilaepa said.
"But our trading partners have dramatically changed since, and today we do a lot more business with New Zealand and Australia, China and Pacific Rim countries such as Singapore."
He said Samoa is currently losing out on two working days a week doing business with New Zealand and Australia.
"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," he said.
The shift will put the dateline between Samoa and American Samoa, a US territory, but Mr Tuilaepa said that would create "exciting tourism opportunities."
"You can have two birthdays, two weddings and two wedding anniversaries on the same date - on separate days - in less than an hour's flight across, without leaving the Samoan chain," he said.
In 2009, Tuilaepa enacted a law switching drivers to the left side of the road instead of the right, to bring Samoa in line with Australia and New Zealand.
Samoa, a nation of 180,000 people, is located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 4 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Edgar Froese dead: Tangerine Dream founder dies aged 70
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...