On January 17, 2012, the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) welcomed the first Russian visitors since the US Department of Homeland Security approved visa parole for Russian citizens on January 15, 2012.
The Prudnikovs, a family of four, arrived on Guam via Korean Air under the Guam Russia visa waiver parole authority. The family is staying at the Pacific Islands Club, a popular hotel with a water park, and will be on Guam for three weeks. They return to Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia, on February 6, 2012.
The Guam Russia visa waiver parole authority makes it easy for Russian travelers to visit the islands of Guam and Saipan. Guam, a US territory, is the closest American destination from Russia, and Saipan has long been visited and inhabited by Russians.
The Department of Homeland Security on November 23, 2011 granted visa parole authority for Russian visitors to come to Guam. Parole authority allows tourists to enter the island on a case-by-case basis, without the need for a visa. The parole allows Russian visitors to stay in the Mariana Islands for up to 45 days total.
“We are delighted to welcome the Prudnikovs out of the cold winter weather into the gorgeous tropical climate of Guam,” said GVB General Manager Joann Camacho, “We are confident this charming family of four will enjoy all the beach, water, and family activities the island has to offer and return to Russia refreshed and recharged.”
According to the Euromonitor International report, Russia is predicted to have an increase of nearly 12 million new outbound trips. Guam received 632 Russian visitors in 2011. The figure reflects a 49.8 percent increase over 422 in 2010.
Russia tour agent, Natalia Bespalova of Guam Voyage, said that Russians tourists seek luxury accommodations in a warm and friendly place, often spending two to three weeks vacationing.
GVB is working on a tactical marketing plan with a focus on the eastern cities of Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Sakhalinsk, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. The bureau will conduct a road show to these cities jointly with the Marianas Visitors Authority and GVB member businesses. Travel agencies and media in each city will be invited to a product presentation to introduce the inclusion of Guam into the Russia visa waiver parole authority, which the CNMI has been enjoying for the last couple of years under the Guam-CNMI visa waiver program.