China media officials meet with casino, MVA brass


A dozen reporters, editors, and news directors from major outlets in mainland China met with casino and tourism officials on Friday on the Grand Mariana, a yacht owned by Best Sunshine International, Ltd., to discuss the stories that Saipan has to offer.

“The purpose here is to promote Saipan,” said Best Sunshine CEO Mark Brown. “We are trying to get as much information out there as we possibly can, as far as what we are doing here—our partnership with the Saipan people, the government, [and] trying to grow the economy.”

Chinese media journalists pose for a photo with casino and tourism officials on the Grand Mariana yacht. (Dennis B. Chan)

Chinese media journalists pose for a photo with casino and tourism officials on the Grand Mariana yacht. (Dennis B. Chan)

Some of these media officials included China News Agency Economic Review deputy general manager Luo Guojun; People’s Daily Overseas Edition deputy editor-in-chief Yang Haiqi; Central China Broadcasting Economic Station senior editor Wu Chunmei; Beijing TV News Center deputy director in censorship Yin Lei; Beijing Youth editor-in-chief Wang Junguang; Ten Cent Net senior reporter Wang Yi; Global Times Marketing GM Lisa Li; Global Times reporter Xia Zhongwei; Zhejiang Travel TV Station senior consultant Li Yafeng; and China Business Review senior reporter Liu Ke.

After the meeting with the top-rank media officials, Perry Tenorio, Marianas Visitors Authority managing director, said it was important “to share our thoughts” about the importance of the China market.

“The intention obviously with Best Sunshine is to develop more stories about the CNMI, right? And we took the opportunity to sit down with them and have a discussion and have maybe more information on the tourism component of their visit,” he said.

According to Brown, Best Sunshine took the media officials on a tour of the island’s golf courses last week, and shared the island’s history and entertainment it has to offer, among others.

On Friday, they toured the Grand Mariana, a luxury yacht captained by Jay Kimmal. Kimmal said the yacht goes as fast 15 knots. It holds cabins and a split-level master suite, with a jacuzzi and a sun deck on its uppermost level, among other luxury features.

The economic sell

“We want them to go back and talk and let everyone know how beautiful Saipan is—the island, what’s there to do here, what’s going on—not about this,” Brown said, pointing to a gaming table where a sit-down interview with reporters was held on Friday.

“It’s more about what are we really doing. We are building hotels, we are building nightclubs, we are building restaurants. Hopefully, as we do that ourselves, other companies will also build more hotel rooms, more restaurants.”

“…As our temporary casino closes and [the Garapan hotel] opens and more and more people start coming—our employees now go from 500 to 3,000, they need places to eat—so even the current business owners will be probably be opening up more restaurants, different restaurants, local restaurants. A bar person who is very successful with one might open another one. That’s what happens with the growth of the economy,” he said.

Brown said that during their Friday meeting, many of the media officials were asking, “What’s the story? What’s the story?”

One Chinese media official told reporters that Saipan should “sell love” and human interest stories about the local people and the ecosystem.

“Is the story about Mark Brown?” Brown told reporters. “Is the story about Imperial Pacific? Is the story about Saipan itself, what’s going to happen now as far as with the change in the economy?

Brown said BSI is trying to tell about their next building phase in Garapan, noting that they did not heavily advertise the temporary casino in T Galleria. BSI plans to build a $500-million casino resort in Garapan called the Grand Mariana.

He added that they would like to do as much media tours as they can, with journalists from China, Korea, Japan, or whoever would like to come.

“We are getting our name out,” he said, noting that in Macau they have advertisements on taxicabs and the Zhuhai border.

“The message right now is more really about recruitment…and integrated resort and hotels and restaurants and shopping, and showing the water. [One of] our advertisement is a women going underwater scuba diving with fish going by.

“It’s all about the island. That’s all we keep focusing on. All the things to see and enjoy on the island,” Brown said.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at

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