A snapshot from the Marianas’ efforts to rehabilitate popular tourist sites during the lull in tourism has gained national media attention in South Korea, the destination’s top source market prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Dec. 7, MBC Newsdesk, the longest-running newscast in South Korea, broadcast a story about Koreans in the Marianas cleaning underwater memorials. The news story was shared with 3.3 million viewers, generating about $93,000 PR ad value.
The coverage was based on a press release distributed by the Marianas Visitors Authority’s Korea office. The release, titled “Koreans in The Marianas Clean Underwater Memorial Monuments,” generated 13 media articles across Korea in two days. The news was also shared on Facebook, Instagram, Naver, YouTube, and other channels, generating extensive positive comments:
“I really respect them and thank them for this work. So proud of you guys,” wrote one social media commenter. Others wrote, “I would like to gather divers and join this volunteer work. What do you guys think?” and, “It’s made me decide to go scuba-diving [on] Saipan. Thanks so much for this volunteer work.”
“Every sector has been hit as hard by the pandemic, and travel industry workers are going through a more difficult time than ever,” said MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “However, even in times such as these, the good deeds of community members who continue to carry out voluntary activities to make the Marianas a better place is attracting attention and warming the hearts of potential visitors.”
The underwater memorials were cleaned by members of the Northern Marianas Korean Diving Operators: Aqua Dive, Dive Saipan, Dive Y2K, Deep Blue, H2M Saipan, Sean Dive, Pro Divers Saipan, and Deep Blue Sea. (MVA)