CNMI TO TARGET RUSSIAN TOURISTS

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 18) – After China, the Marianas Visitors Authority is targeting Russia as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’next major tourist market.

At yesterday’s board meeting, MVA executives agreed to join Pacific Islands Club in San Antonio when it makes a sales pitch in Russia from April 7 to 8 this year.

PIC’s sales manager Elly Stoilova has been promoting Saipan in Russia as an ideal tourist destination.

Stoilova will attend the travel show called "Daltour 05" in Vladivostok from April 7 to 8, and the STI Spring Workshop in Novosibirsk, Omsk and Krasnoyarsk from April 14 to 16.

From April 13 to 15, the Russian Association of Travel Agencies, which has 150 members, will hold a travel show in Novosibirsk.

"Somebody from this office should go with Stoilova. This is a good opportunity to map Saipan in Russia," said MVA chairman David M. Sablan.

In an interview with KZMI radio station, Stoilova said PIC has witnessed a steady growth in the number of Russian tourists. "Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Russia," she said.

So far, Saipan has accommodated guests from three Russian cities: Khabarovsk, Yugno-Sakhalinsk and Vladivostok.

Stoilova said Saipan could be an attractive destination for Russians in the Far East and Siberia, being the closest tropical U.S. destination.

She said the CNMI also has "fast (processing) of visitors entry permits, convenient flights through Seoul, (a tropical) climate and the same time zone," Stoilova said.

Russian guests are usually honeymooners, retired couples, scuba divers or families whose parents want their children to learn English.

The first time MVA made a significant promotion of Saipan in Russia was from Nov. 24 to 27 in 1996 during a promotional tour in Khabarosvk.

February 18, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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