Explosion of social media content, satisfied customers result in overbookings
The Marianas has been all over the mainstream and travel trade media in South Korea, according to Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo, who said this is generating millions of dollars in unpaid publicity for the CNMI after an explosion of social media content about the CNMI as a beautiful and safe destination during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iakopo said that because of the CNMI’s Tourism Resumption Investment Plan or TRIP program and the CNMI’s travel bubble agreement with South Korea, awareness and talk about the Marianas is spreading quickly and is worth millions of dollars more than they could have afforded if MVA had to pay for it.
Iakopo discussed CNMI’s huge publicity in South Korea, among other issues, in her presentation last week on the Korea CNMI TRIP Program before the House of Representatives Commerce and Tourism Committee chaired by Rep. Denita Yangetmai (D-Saipan).
Citing recent examples, Iakopo said the CNMI received numerous print stories in national newspapers in South Korea, as well as mentions and features from both social media influencers and many satisfied customers who have visited the islands.
In total, the CNMI has already received $1.5 million worth of total press release value since MVA hosted a Familiarization Tour last July, she said.
She said two news stories alone on two nationwide television shows, JTBC News Room and SBS News, was able to reach 5.5 million homes and generated over $300,000 worth of PR value.
For sure, Iakopo said, every travel-hungry person in South Korea has heard of the CNMI by now, and that’s good news for TRIP and for all future travel to the Marianas from South Korea.
She said the CNMI’s exposure as a safe destination has been tremendous and bookings have been so strong that airlines have been reaching out to fly more or have new flights to the Marianas.
She said, however, they can’t put all the eggs in one market basket so MVA has established ad hoc committees to investigate the feasibility of starting TRIP programs for other markets, specifically Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, and greater Micronesia. She said the requirements and negotiations with each market may be different.
MVA’s Ad Hoc Committees are chaired by Tommy Kim of TanHoldings for Korea, Nick Nishikawa of Hyatt Regency Saipan for Japan, and Tom Liu of STI for Taiwan/Hong Kong.
Iakopo said the CNMI’s COVID-19 protocols will probably continue to change as COVID-19 changes.
“The MVA fully supports these protocols, which have and we believe will continue to keep our community safe and a place where visitors feel safe, too,” she said.
MD: The Marianas has been all over the mainstream and travel trade media in South Korea generating millions of dollars in unpaid publicity after an explosion of social media content about the CNMI, as beautiful and safe destination during this COVID-19 pandemic, from both the social media influencers and many satisfied customers who have visited the islands.
KW: Priscilla M. Iakopo, Marianas, South Korea, mainstream media