Marianas proposes co-ops to Korea tourism partners

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(MVA) — Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres led a delegation from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in a series of meetings with key Korea tourism partners on Feb. 21, 2020, in Seoul, South Korea.

The meetings aimed to reinforce key partnerships in the Marianas’ key source market at a time when tourism has been declining worldwide due to Covid-19, although the Marianas itself has no confirmed cases of the virus.

Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, second left, leads the Marianas delegation in meeting with Asiana Airlines on Feb. 21, 2020, to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on travel to the destination.  From left are Marianas Visitors Authority board member Jerry Tan, Torres, president & CEO of Asiana Airlines Chang Soo Han, and executive vice president of Asiana Airlines Young Heon Kim.

"We had very productive meetings with airline executives and travel organizations from Korea, and we thank them for assisting us in promoting the Marianas in our number one visitor market,” said Torres. “Our meetings were focused on strengthening our partnerships with our airline and travel partners for the long term, despite the unexpected economic downturn from the coronavirus outbreak. The CNMI government continues to be at the forefront of U.S. efforts to protect our people and our islands from the coronavirus. We continue to reassure our Korean tourism partners that the Marianas remains coronavirus-free destination and continues to be a top-choice destination within the region in the years to come."

The governor was accompanied by Marianas Visitors Authority acting board chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh, board member Jerry Tan, board member Warren Villagomez, and Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo.

“As a key part of MVA’s crisis management plan, the Marianas delegation met personally with top executives of our major airline and travel agent partners to discuss ways we can best weather this storm together,” said Cavanagh. “Cognizant that these companies are also suffering in this downturn, we proposed several co-op opportunities that aim to restore confidence in travelling to the Marianas and reboot bookings.”

Gov. Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, third right, leads the Marianas delegation in meeting with Mode Tour on Feb. 21, 2020, to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on travel to the destination.

The delegation met with president & CEO Chang-soo Han of Asiana Airlines, president & CEO Hong-Geun Jeong of T’way, executive director Myung Sub Yoo and other representatives of Jeju Air, president & CEO Jinkook Kim of Hana Tour, president & CEO In-tae Yu of Mode Tour, and president & CEO InJoong Kim of Yellow Balloon.

The Marianas delegation offered monetary incentives for tourism partners to increase marketing and promotions of the destination, including more exposure on digital and social media channels for airlines, incentives for extra flights, and support for travel agencies and online travel agencies.

MVA has already initiated a series of crisis management activities through its Korea office. A press release in January announcing the Marianas’ as a Covid-19-free destination and the suspension of flights from China was covered in 33 articles across travel trade and general audience media. Announcement of Saipan as the reward vacation destination chosen by popular Korean drama “Stove League” generated 293 media articles, while a reward vacation destination article by drama “Dr. Romantic” generated 39 media articles.

Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres, center, leads the Marianas delegation in meeting with Jeju Air on Feb. 21, 2020, to discuss ways to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on travel to the destination. Pictured are Digital Sale department director Kyoung Pyo Go, Marianas Visitors Authority board vice chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh, MVA board member Jerry Tan, managing director, commercial division Myung Sub Yoo, Governor Torres, MVA board Warren Villagomez, MVA Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo, Chan Ho Hong, Se Jin Kim, and head of route marketing team Won Seok Yang.  MVA photos

In addition, the celebrity show “Soccer Adventure filmed in Saipan is now airing, while “Those Cross the Lines Returns” will air in March. Both shows are each anticipated to reach 2 million people per episode.

Facebook and Instagram notifications on the Marianas virus-free status have also been circulated.

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