TUMON, Guam – An official Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) and Mariana Visitors Authority delegation is in Moscow, Russia, and met with the US Consul General and the US Commercial Service, including the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of the United States of America and the Chairwoman of the Visit USA Russia Committee.
The meeting marked the launch of the official GVB Russian language website and supporting social media sites and was commemorated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Russian language websites, funded in part by the Guam Economic Development Authority, are key components of GVB’s aggressive marketing plans that are geared specifically toward the Russia leisure travel market. The URL address is www.visitguamusa.ru .
“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 US territories here in Russia. We will continue to support faster, more efficient visa processing for Russian citizens at our embassy and consulates in Russia,” said Doron Bard, Consul General, US Embassy to the Russian Federation.
The delegation jointly participated in last week’s 4-day Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (MITT), promoting Guam and CNMI as warm, tropical island destinations that are clean, safe, family-oriented, and easily accessible from the Russian Far East. GVB conducted a Guam Destination Presentation for Russia travel agents and media attending the exhibit and this week will be making presentations to Russia media and travel agents in the cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.
MITT is the leading travel show in Russia and is considered one of the top 5 travel exhibitions in the world, giving the bureau exposure and access to as many as 250,000 potential visitors, including many Russian travel agents and corporate visitors, over the course of 4 days. GVB intends to meet with as many Russia travel agents and media as possible throughout their visit to have further discussions in an effort to strengthen Guam’s brand awareness in Russia.
“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. 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,” said Senator Tina Muña Barnes, Chairwoman – Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing, and Recreation.
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 percent 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.
PHOTO (L to R): Gina Kono, Marketing Officer II, Guam Visitors Bureau; John M. McCaslin, Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs, US Commercial Service-Embassy of the United States of America-Moscow, Russia; Pilar Laguaña, Marketing Manager, Guam Visitors Bureau; Guam Head Office; Senator Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Chairwoman – Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation, U.S. Territory of Guam; and Consul General Doron D. Bard, Embassy of the United States of America-Moscow, Russia