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By Edith G. Alejandro

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 24, 2002 – Saipan Tribune)---The Marianas Visitors Authority will tap the assistance of U.S. embassies in China to promote the Northern Marianas as a premier tropical destination for Chinese travelers.

Meantime, MVA Acting Managing Director Vicky Benavente has vowed to revise marketing and promotional fund expenditures so that they are distributed more equitably to all existing and new markets.

Following the inaugural flight of China Southern Air to the Northern Marianas Saturday, the MVA recognized the need to reconstruct funding allocations to include China.

Benavente said the MVA is waiting for the complete resolution of all flight requirements between the U.S. and China before full-blast promotional activities are undertaken in major Chinese cities.

"Once it is freed from any concerns, then we can boost our promotional and advertising campaign. We will do to China what we have been doing to Japan," said the acting managing director.

She added that the MVA would maximize promotional activities in China through the reconstruction of marketing funds, which should be distributed effectively to all existing and potential markets.

"The Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino had done its part in securing these chartered flights to help the CNMI. They have been using their own money and it is about time that we do our part," Benavente pointed out.

With the arrival of China Southern Air, the CNMI is anticipating receiving at least 19,000 additional tourists a year. Two weekly flights between the CNMI and China are planned.

The move to promote the CNMI to the Chinese market has also earned the support of the administration. Gov. Juan N. Babauta will request assistance from all U.S. embassies in key cities in China to help disseminate information about the CNMI.

"The government and the Office of the Washington Representative will tap the assistance of the embassies and liaison offices abroad to help us promote the CNMI. It will be distributing hand outs and other information," Babauta said.

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

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