U.S. SEEKS TO STREAMLINE TRAVEL VISAS FOR CHINESE

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By Gerardo R. Partido

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, April 28) – The U.S. government and its consulate office in China are developing several measures to increase Chinese overseas travel to American territories.

According to the Guam Visitors Bureau, the U.S. Department of Commerce has been coordinating with the U.S. embassy in China to discuss possible ways to improve the visa application process and increase visa approval rates to Guam from China.

Although Guam still has to attain approved destination status from China, the Visitors Bureau has been targeting the affluent Chinese who can afford to travel abroad and obtain visas more easily.

According to the Visitors Bureau, the U.S. embassy is now approving multiple visas to Chinese applicants, although more details on travel plans are needed for approval.

Moreover, visa applicants now don’t have to go through the process of lining up and waiting for appointments in front of the U.S. consulate office since a website has already been set up where applicants can obtain appointments for interview schedules.

To increase awareness of Guam in the China market, the Visitors Bureau sent a delegation to attend the World Travel Fair held in Shanghai on March 27-April 2.

The World Travel Fair is China’s leading outbound travel fair and attracts a lot of high-income travel consumers from the greater Shanghai region.

During the fair, the Mariana Islands was given equal importance as traditional top destinations and touted as an "emerging" destination for the Chinese.

the Visitors Bureau was invited to participate by the U.S. consulate office in Shanghai, which set up appointments for the Visitors Bureau with key local travel industry partners.

Moreover, the U.S. Department of Commerce participated in the show and had all U.S. destinations including Guam put under the U.S.A. umbrella to show a unified front.

According to the Visitors Bureau, this initiative is part of the U.S. State Department’s desire for the Chinese people to get a glimpse of the U.S. lifestyle and make them more familiar with U.S. products.

In the past, the states of Nevada, Hawaii, and Florida have engaged in separate and independent marketing activities along with big Fortune 500 companies.

This year, the Visitors Bureau said all agreed work under the U.S.A. umbrella to create unity and help develop the U.S.A. product.

April 28, 2006

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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