Efforts to revive the Russian market still on shaky ground


With just three primary tourist markets—Japan, Korea, and China—the Marianas Visitors Authority is trying to get its Russia tourist market back on its feet but the prognosis is still untenable.

While charter flights have always been a problem, “there are no immediate prospects for new charter flights out of the Russia market given the current market instability,” said MVA managing director Perry Tenorio.

Japanese tour operator H.I.S. had announced in November last year that it will commence charter flights to the CNMI from Far East Russia beginning February this year but nothing came out of it.

During MVA’s board meeting in July, Tatiana Babauta, MVA’s marketing specialist for Russia, told board members that H.I.S. is not giving up on charter flights from the former Soviet Union and is just waiting for the end of summer.

Another problem in securing seats for the Russian market is competition from the growing Chinese tourist market, both of which competed for bookings with Asiana Airlines.

“We continue to focus our efforts with Asiana Airlines on one-stop promotions from East Russia via Seoul and on to the CNMI,” Tenorio said.

Right now, MVA has an incentive program in place to help the Russian market grow.

Elly Stoilova, who chairs the Russia Ad Hoc Committee, said the program provides a strong monetary incentive for Russian travel agents to increase the number of visitor arrivals from Russia to the CNMI and to encourage agents to promote and sell the CNMI as a destination.

The budget amount for this incentive program is $52,000. Some $50,000 comes from the Russia Ad Hoc Committee budget and the remaining $2,000 comes from the MVA local Russia budget.

The incentive program started on May 1, 2015, and the maximum number of bookings supported is 1,000. Travel agents would receive $50 per room booked for a minimum reservation of seven nights per room. Booking must be prepaid and any travel agency can participate.

However, only MVA member hotels can participate in the program.

The program will last until the end of the fiscal year or 1,000 bookings made, whichever comes first. Also, as an additional incentive, the travel agent that books the most reservations will receive a $1,000 cash incentive.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at jayson_camacho@saipantribune.com.

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