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MVA suspends Japan and Taiwan and offices

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(MVA) —  In light of the continued world-wide drop in tourism and dwindling local revenue, the Marianas Visitors Authority  board of directors voted on Monday to implement a 90-day suspension for its contracted representative office in Japan. 

The representative office in Taiwan has been temporarily suspended since April 2020, and MVA is also working to further reduce services by its representative office in Korea.

The move follows a termination of  MVA’s China representative office in June 2020 and a temporary suspension of its Taiwan office since April 2020.    MVA, usually funded almost entirely by hotel occupancy tax collections, has already furloughed almost 70% of its staff and is bracing itself for further belt-tightening in FY 2021, as tourism is not expected to begin to resume until Summer 2021 at the earliest, but most likely late 2021.

MVA acting board chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh underscored the need for MVA to continue operations and maintain response readiness despite extremely low visitor arrivals from only Guam and the U.S. and reduced revenue.

“MVA helps drive the Marianas economy.  You can spend money on all of our government services, but really, MVA is the only agency that actually spends money to generate money,” Cavanagh said.  “If  MVA is not funded, then we’re going to be in the same position after this Covid situation is over as we are today, because we would have ceased  promotions  and  marketing  in  our  source  countries.    To  defund   MVA  would  further immobilize the Marianas tourism economy both immediately and long-term.”

MVA is represented by TAMS in Korea and by Access Inc. in Japan.  The offices conduct marketing and promotions through professional contacts and with cultural expertise in their respective countries.  Since the Covid-19 outbreak, marketing and promotions have been minimized, but the offices continue to play a primary role in keeping the Marianas public and private sector updated on source market Covid-19 related protocols and requirements, tourism business changes and future planning, and travel sentiments. The offices are also conducting low-cost promotions, including social media campaigns, to maintain public awareness of and interested in the Marianas.

Keeping  both  companies  on-board  will  help  the  Marianas  respond  quickly  to  any positive changes in travel trends.

MVA has recently  been  awarded  a $10.8 million  Community  Development  Block Grant-Disaster Recovery for brand development of the Marianas.   However, Cavanagh emphasized that the grant cannot be used for other purposes,

“That’s a fallacy.  The CDBG grants are extremely specific, and we cannot use any of that grant money for operations, including off-shore offices,” she said.


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