Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, many American Samoa residents were displaced and unable to return to their homes and communities. Therefore, the American Samoa Government (ASG) launched its Safe Travels Program and awarded DataHouse to implement TALOFAPASS, powered by LumiSight, to bring residents home. As flight paths reopen, travelers use TALOFAPASS web and mobile applications to expedite required forms, upload vaccination information, and complete testing requirements before departure.

In addition to streamlining traveler experiences, the TALOFAPASS system helps unite multiple ASG departments, state and local governments, and commercial organizations so they can work together and communicate effectively.

Here’s the incredible story of American Samoa’s success:

Background: How do we repatriate residents and keep our community safe?

Nearly 2,000 American Samoa residents were stranded in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and other countries when the ASG closed its borders due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Since then, ASG’s COVID-19 task force has worked tirelessly and strategically to repatriate residents who remained displaced in Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.

Through close collaboration among ASG’s Department of Health, Department of Medicaid, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Port Administration, the State of Hawaii, and Hawaiian Airlines, the task force organized repatriation flights and collected COVID-related information from each traveler before boarding and upon arrival. They also instituted and managed quarantine restrictions for arriving residents to ensure their community’s safety. Travelers were required to quarantine for two weeks in a Waikiki hotel before departure and quarantine again in American Samoa before returning home, which cost the ASG over $9 million in just seven months.

Challenge: We need a long-term solution that enables effective collaboration.

As repatriation was underway, ASG needed a more efficient and cost-effective way to adapt to the changing testing, vaccination, and travel requirements and share traveler information with multiple parties involved in the repatriation process. Numerous ASG departments needed to work together as a unified team to ensure all travelers complied with COVID-related requirements.

However, disparate information systems and processes hindered effective communication and collaboration. Plus, quarantining travelers in Hawaii before departure was costly and unsustainable for both ASG and the travelers. ASG sought an innovative solution to unite all stakeholders, bring residents back home safely, and eventually reopen their borders to visitors and boost their tourist economy.

American Samoa Government and DataHouse leaders involved in the TALOFAPASS system

From left to right: ASG Dept of Homeland Security Director Samana Ve’ave’a, ASG Dept of Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua, ASG GAR/Lt. Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale, DataHouse President Hong Phan, ASG Medicaid Director Sandra King Young, ASG IT Manager Governor’s Office Upuese Galoia

Solution: Leverage the collective power of people, processes, and technology.

ASG’s solution was to initiate a Safe Travels Program to facilitate travelers while maintaining the health and safety of American Samoa residents and everyone involved in the travel process. ASG awarded DataHouse with a contract to implement TALOFAPASS, a technology platform powered by LumiSight, as part of the Safe Travels Program to facilitate information sharing and ensure smooth travel experiences.

LumiSight is an end-to-end platform solution that provides secure, cloud-native infrastructure and rapid application development to keep ASG’s system flexible and scalable as travel requirements change. With LumiSight, DataHouse developed and configured TALOFAPASS in record time and continuously modifies the system to meet ASG and the traveler’s needs.

American Samoa residents and travelers use the TALOFAPASS system to enter their trip, identity, and vaccination information, schedule a series of COVID-19 tests, and receive a green light to travel. ASG staff from various departments use TALOFAPass to review and approve the traveler information before the flight to ensure all travelers comply with ASG travel policies. Upon arrival, airport screeners scan each traveler’s QR code to review information quickly and give appropriate quarantine instructions. While in quarantine, travelers check in their location with TALOFAPASS so that ASG knows they are adhering to requirements. After quarantine, residents return home and enjoy heartfelt reunions with their loved ones.

Benefits: Simplify the complex and continuously adapt to change.

ASG chose DataHouse’s LumiSight to build TALOFAPASS because it simplifies the complex exchange of real-time information and creates streamlined experiences. LumiSight is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) and pre-engineered accelerator using AWS services that makes rapid solutions possible. With LumiSight, and DataHouse’s experience with orchestrating travelers’ information, COVID-19 testing, vaccine registries, ASG policies, and data exchange, ASG was able to launch TALOFAPASS quickly and continues to adapt the technology according to business needs and travel requirements.

TALOFAPASS provides a hub for information so that everyone involved in the travel and repatriation process can access the same information in real time. Plus, now that ASG has LumiSight’s modern digital infrastructure, they can continuously expand their technology platform, integrate other systems, build additional applications, and engage more collaborators with harmonized processes.

What’s next: Explore innovation to advance our community.

ASG values advanced technology and its ability to unite its residents and share American Samoa’s culture with the world. As travel restrictions ease, ASG explores additional ways to strategically leverage innovative technology to boost its economy and support its local community.

Visit americansamoa.gov and talofapass.as.gov for more information.

Read the AWS-DataHouse Client Success Story: American Samoa Selects DataHouse and AWS to Maintain Travel to Bring People Home during COVID-19.


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