TUMON, Guam – A Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) delegation, led by Senator Tina Rose Muña Barnes, conducted separate Guam Destination Workshops and introduced Guam, CNMI and the region of Micronesia to all major Russia media outlets and travel agents in the Russian Far East cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. GVB Marketing Manager, Pilar Laguaña, noted that the attendance at the Product Seminars greatly exceeded GVB’s expectations and the bureau is extremely excited and encouraged by the incredible and positive response shown by travel agents and media representatives from these cities. Joining GVB at its presentation were United, Korean Air, Guam Troika Tours, Russia Guam Tours, and Edge Realty.
US Consul General in Vladivostok, Sylvia Curran, said: “We greatly appreciate the Guam Visitors Bureau coming to Khabarovsk and Vladivostok to promote tourism to Guam. We have already received excellent feedback on the seminars. Increased tourism links between Russia and the US will only strengthen the ties between our countries.”
GVB also took part in market familiarization tours in both cities and intends to forge relationships with as many Russia travel agents and media to strengthen Guam’s brand awareness within the Russia leisure travel market. With a combined population of over 1.3 million residents in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, the Russia travel market is an undeniable opportunity for GVB to grow and diversify Guam’s tourism base. GVB General Manager, Joann Camacho, pointed out that with the approval of the Russia visa waiver, close geographic proximity from Russia’s Far Eastern region to Guam, as well as convenient air service provided, the island is sure to gain noticeable increase of visitor arrivals quickly from this new market source.
The workshops wrapped up GVB’s 10-day visit in Russia that included a 4-day trade exhibit and promotion at the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition and the launch of the official Guam Russian language website ( visitguamusa.ru ), a key component of GVB’s aggressive marketing efforts to promote Guam as a warm, safe, clean, family-oriented, tropical destination that is easily accessible from the Russian Far East. GVB’s Russia marketing plans include hiring the services of a full-time marketing representative in Russia to promote and market Guam in a sustained effort to make the island an important destination in the Russian leisure travel market.
This February was the first full month that Russians could travel to Guam visa free since the US Department of Homeland Security granted parole authority for Russia starting January 15, 2012. Visa waiver for Russia and China has been a top priority for the Calvo administration. “We’re pleased to see a major increase in visitor arrivals from Russia thanks to [the] visa waiver,” said Governor Eddie Calvo, “While the numbers in terms of volume are not that large, the Russian visitors stay longer and spend more, which really boosts our local economy, creating new jobs and opportunities for our people. We’ll continue to develop this new market while we continue to push for China visa waiver.”
PHOTO: Guam Visitor Bureau’s (GVB) delegation headed by Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes (center) with GVB Marketing Officer II-Gina Kono, Guam Troika Tours – Katya Akatieva Sablan, Russia Guam Tours – Ioulia Safer, US Consul for Political and Economical Affairs – Elizabeth M. MacDonald, GVB Marketing Manager – Pilar Laguana, United Country Manager Sales (Russia) – Denis Zyuzin, Edge Realty Associate Broker – Christopher Guerrero, and Principal Broker – Alfredo Bustamante welcomes travel agents and media from Vladivostok to the bureau’s Guam Product Seminar held on March 28, 2012.