The Marianas Visitors Authority hopes to provide greater exposure for the Northern Marianas in Russia with its decision to open a promotional office in that country.
MVA managing director Perry John Tenorio told Saipan Tribune yesterday that an offshore office is now functioning in Vladivostok, Russia, with two full-time public relations and marketing managers in place.
The CNMI now has four official promotional offices: in Japan, Korea, China, and Russia.
Tenorio disclosed that Russian visitors have a significant amount of economic impact on the Commonwealth, to the tune of approximately $133 million last fiscal year.
“Although Russians accounted for only about 3 percent of visitor arrivals in fiscal year 2013, the economic impact of the market comprises approximately 12.45 percent of overall tourism revenue. For fiscal year 2013, Russian visitors were estimated to have generated approximately $133 million in economic activity in the CNMI,” said Tenorio.
The Northern Marianas receives bi-weekly direct charter flights from Vladivostok and weekly charter flights from Khabarovsk.
“Given their economic significance, when additional marketing funding became available through the increase in hotel occupancy tax this year, the MVA prioritized the opening of a representative office in East Russia,” Tenorio said.
For airlift development, the new office will work with Aviacharters, Asiana Airlines, and other key airline partners to boost airlift from the East Russia market to the CNMI.
For travel trade marketing, Tenorio said the new office will work with key travel agents through East Russia to ensure the development of new tour packages to Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and to launch co-op campaigns with the major agents to boost bookings to the NMI.
To boost public/media relations, the office will also work with jet media in East Russia, including daily newspapers, monthly lifestyle and travel magazines, guidebooks, network television, radio, and travel trade publications to secure unpaid exposure for the CNMI and rapidly raise the visibility and presence of mind of the CNMI as a world-class destination choice for East Russia residents.
MVA will also launch a Russian website and ensure major buzz for the CNMI in all key Russia social media networks to influence Russian travelers to select the CNMI as their next vacation destination
The new office will also launch a range of promotions in conjunction with travel agents and airline partners to drive increased bookings from East Russia to the CNMI.
According to Tenorio, the new offshore office is currently budgeted at $325,000 for the first half of the fiscal year.
“We will be evaluating our financial position to set the budget for the second half of the year. We are optimistic that our new office will help bring more Russians to Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, and we invite the community to join us in welcoming them, as well as all our other guest, and giving them warm memories of their visit here,” he added.