MARIANAS VISITORS AUTHORITY REPRESENTATIVES IN JAPAN

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By Linablue F. Romero

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (September 14, 1998 - Saipan Tribune)---Seeking to forge a closer partnership with its main market, officials of the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) yesterday left for Japan to meet with airline executives and wholesale travel agents to discuss ways the CNMI can obtain a bigger market share amid the plunge in international travel.

The three-day trip will also introduce the officials of the newly established MVA before the formal launching of the Visit the Marianas '99 Campaign scheduled before the end of the month, according to Perry John Tenorio, Managing Director of MVA.

Tenorio left with Board Chairman Dave Sablan and Aviation Task Force Chairman J. M. Guerrero. They will meet with executives of Japan Airlines, Continental Micronesia and Japan Travel Bureau, the biggest tour wholesaler.

The Northern Marianas campaign to lure more Japanese visitors comes as Japan is battling its worst recession since World War II. Japan entered a recession in the first quarter of the year and many are waiting for the world's second biggest economy to come out of the doldrums.

Local travel agents, hotel and resort executives here have expressed concern over the CNMI's lack of visibility in Japan after the defunct Marianas Visitors Bureau was forced to drop the services of Tokyo-based I & S Corp. in helping promote the Northern Marianas in Japan.

MVA officials have yet to hire a new Japanese advertising firm that will assist in marketing the Visit the Marianas '99 Campaign, organized by the private sector early this year in a move to arrest the slump in visitor arrivals.

Members of the Visit the Marianas '99 Steering Committee have finalized the list of activities to be included in the first six months of the campaign, covering the period October to March.

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio led CNMI officials and members of the private sector in a pre-launch meeting with wholesale travel agents, airline and hotel executives in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

The CNMI has been suffering from a continuous decline in tourist arrivals since October last year and many fear that the plunge in tourism economy will result in closure of more commercial establishments on the island.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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