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By Aenet Rowa

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe, Jan. 29) – Representatives from the Republic of the Marshall Islands were among 500 leading exhibitors, from all parts of the world, at the 2006 Los Angeles Travel Expo this weekend.

Few at the event traveled as far as Loreen Bigler and Neiar Kabua of the Marshall Islands Visitor's Authority - who came 5,000 miles to advertise their nation's growing recreational tourism industry.

CenPac Travel's Layne Ballard joined the representatives in hosting the Marshalls' booth. Ballard has worked closely with the Marshalls' in promoting diving over the years, said Ota Kisino, a Marshallese who attended the event.

The travel show, featuring "safaris to scuba diving," was held January 28-29 at the Long Beach Convention Center in California.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands covers nearly a million square miles of coral atolls, islands, and deep, blue, ocean. It is one of the most unique places in the world to visit. The Pacific destination offers sport fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.

"With the wrecks of Bikini Atoll and Kwajalein Atoll, and the deep walls and coral reefs of places like Arno and Rongelap, divers have a chance to experience virgin diving and incredible underwater sights," according to Marshall Islands Visitors Authority.

The Marshall Islands Visitors Authority is the country’s national tourism organization. It was established as an independent statutory body with its own Board of Directors through the 1991 Tourism Act and the 1997 Tourism Amendment Act to plan, develop, market and promote tourism in the Marshall Islands.

Next, Marshall Islands Visitors Authority is scheduled to sponsor a Marshall Islands' exhibit February 4-5 at the Hawaii Ocean Sports Expo in Honolulu, Hawaii.

January 31, 2006


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