Guam – On the first day of the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Fair (MITT) in Russia, the Guam and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) delegation were greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.
While visiting the VisitUSA Pavilion at MITT, Ambassador McFaul took the time to attend the Guam-CNMI Destination Seminar, after which, he blogged about Guam on his site http://m-mcfaul.livejournal.com.
“Each year, travel professionals from throughout the world, including the United States, gather at MITT to promote their country as a tourist destination,” McFaul said on his blog site. “The VisitUSA pavilion highlighted some of my country’s great attractions, ranging from New York City (www.nycgo.com) to Guam (www.visitguamusa.ru) the latter of which recently launched a visa-free travel program for Russian citizens.”
Earlier in the week, the U.S. Consul General in Moscow together with the U.S. Minister Counselor of Commercial Affairs met with the delegation led by Senator Tina Muña Barnes, Guam Visitors Bureau Deputy General Manager Nathan Denight, and Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Perry Tenorio who were in Russia promoting the region, the only U.S. jurisdictions that allow Visa Free travel for Russian nationals. At that meeting the Guam Visitors Bureau launched their new Russian Language website and social media pages – key components of GVB’s aggressive marketing plans aimed at the Russia leisure travel market.
“Travel without a visa to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is now possible for qualified Russian travelers, and we are pleased to see the Guam Visitors Bureau actively promoting travel to these U.S. territories here in Russia,” said Doron Bard, Consul General, U.S. Embassy to the Russian Federation. “We will continue to support faster, more efficient visa processing for Russian citizens at our embassy and consulates in Russia.”
In meetings with the U.S. Embassy, Senator Tina Muña Barnes relayed the need to establish a strong relationship with them as well as the travel trade in Russia, adding that the meetings that took place were very productive.
“As the Chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, I am honored to be leading this delegation. Our meetings thus far have been very productive and I look forward to establishing strong relationships with our partners in Russia,” Senator Muña Barnes said. “We will be traveling on from Moscow to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok and will continue building the network to grow this new and exciting market for Guam.”
They continued their promotions this week by conducting road shows for the travel trade and media in the cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.
On January 15, 2012, visitors from Russia became eligible to travel to Guam without a visa requirement and GVB has been aggressively campaigning in Russia in effort to grow and diversify Guam’s tourism base. Since the visa waiver went into effect, visitor arrivals from Russia have increased by 192% compared to the same period last year, with 336 total Russian visitors in January and February 2012 and 115 total Russian visitors in January and February 2011.