MVA seeks new representative office in S. Korea

Contract with longtime MVA marketing company cancelled

Acting Marianas Visitors Authority board chair Gloria Cavanagh, extreme left, presides over a board meeting Monday in which they approved the issuance of a request for proposals from interested companies to provide the promotional services for the MVA in the Republic of Korea. (Contributed Photo)

The Marianas Visitors Authority board of directors gave the go-signal yesterday for the agency to look for another marketing firm that will sell the CNMI in South Korea after cancelling the contract of a previous contractor due to what it deemed as its poor performance.

MVA managing director Priscilla Iakopo informed the board at their last meeting that there was a request to provide a draft of the request for proposal for an MVA offshore office in Korea. MVA board member Viola Alepuyo asked Iakopo to provide a summary of the RFP so members of the public are aware of what is contained in the RFP.

Iakopo then announced that the MVA is soliciting for proposals from interested individuals or companies to provide the MVA with representation, promotional and public relation service in South Korea.

The contract will be for two years, with an option to renew for an additional two-year period and one additional one-year period, for a total of five years, at the sole discretion of MVA.

Alepuyo then moved to approve the issuance of the RFP. All directors present approved it at a meeting yesterday. Acting board chair Gloria Cavanagh presided over the meeting. The other directors present were Alepuyo, Chris Nelson, Agida Quitugua, and Nick Nishikawa.

In a later interview, Cavanagh disclosed that they decided at a board meeting last May 3 to cancel the contract with AVIAREPS Marketing Garden effective Sept. 30, 2019, because they are not satisfied with the company’s performance for the Korea market.

The contract with AVIAREPS Marketing Garden was also a two-year contract, with an option to renew for another two years.

“But because of the performance, we decided to cancel the contract,” she said, adding that the contract with AVIAREPS was supposed to expire on Sept. 30, 2020.

Cavanagh said the MVA board has actually been in talks with the MVA management for quite some time now about the need to cancel the contract.

AVIAREPS has been under contract with MVA since the late 1990s. It manages MVA’s marketing efforts in Korea, Taiwan, and Russia.

MVA’s Russia offshore will be closed effective June 30, 3019.

MVA recently disclosed that, for the month of May this year, Korea had another month of steady recovery since Super Typhoon Yutu last October, posting 17,750 visitor arrivals and retaining its position as the top performing source market for the CNMI.

However, MVA said, due to the downsizing of Asiana Airlines’ aircraft and the decreased frequency of three air services—T’way Air’s and Jeju Air’s night service from Incheon and Busan—arrivals from Korea is 20 percent lower overall compared to May 2018.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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