This Site Is NOT Going To Help Tourism In The Marshall Islands - Please, Someone, Fix  Bottom

  • Saw news release today from "Whi Travel" that trumpets its development of new Marshall Islands Tourism Website. Per the news release:

    QuoteThe new website, visitmarshallislands.com, now specifically allows holidaymakers and visitors to organize and book their travel arrangements with ease. "A solid online presence partnered with reliable instant-booking capability has become a critical part of being successful in the global tourism market," said Jennifer Aston, CEO of whl.travel. "It’s wonderful to see an emerging market such as the Marshall Islands embrace the online sales capabilities that these e-marketing initiatives are able to create."

    This sentiment was echoed by Ilisoni Vuidreketi, CEO of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO), who felt that "This is an important milestone for the promotion of tourism in the Marshall Islands, in particular its services and products since they are now more visible online than in the past and are able to be booked instantly." Vuidreketi went on to confirm that MIVA has made a wise and cost-effective decision in revamping its website, particularly as the marketing budgets of smaller SPTO countries like the Marshall Islands are too limited to allow for physical attendance at expensive long-haul travel shows.


    You can view all at http://www.prwe…eb11080095.htm

    Well, certainly sounds good, so I decided to check out.

    I went to the new site -- its at http://www.visi…llislands.com/ and I clicked on Accomodations. I then searched for one room for two adults, for three nights, beginning on 10 January 2014. Per the information I received:

    [*] I can book the "Presidential Suite" in the Long Island Hotel for $600 per night (yes, per night - only room available); or

    [*] I can stay in a bungalow on Eneko Island for $25 per night. But, wh en click on Eneko bungalows, tells me actual cost is $25 per person per day and for day use only, so no overnight stay.

    [*] What about the Hotel Robert Reimers and the Marshall Islands Resort? Per the info the Web site delivered back to me, neither of these hotels has a single room available. Both hotels are 100% SOLD OUT for 10 - 12 January 2014.

    I very much doubt this is true.

    And thus, if I want to visit Majuro, it is the Presdential Suite at the Long Island Hotel, at $600 per night, or nothing.

    Wonder now many tourists will go for that deal?

    Also per the site:

    [*] Nothing is happening in January 2014 - no events posted.

    [*] There are several good tour and travel sites featured. It appears all are operated by either a Japanese or an Austrailian as the prinipal owner/operator. Don't any MARSHALLESE charter boats for fishing? Why aren't canoe rides through Waan Aelõñ in Majel promoted. Did Matt Holly pass on or has he stopped offering diving tours If Matt is still active, after living in and supporting the Marshall Islands for 20+ years, why isn't he given a bit of promotion? Who decided who is promoted on the MIVA site and who is not, and what is the criteria?

    As this is the new official Web site for the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority (MIVA), a lot of potential visitors will check all out. Certainly $600 per night rooms and zero Marshallese-owned and operated tourist opportunities should not be the key features of a Web site trumpeted as being "an important milestone for the promotion of tourism in the Marshall Islands."



    Edited by pettittm on Sep 24, 2013 - 04:03 AM.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
  • It gets better.

    Per the press release cited above, whl.travel is an
    QuoteOnline hotel- and activity-booking portal


    So, today over lunch, I decided to check it out - you can too, at http://www.whl.travel/

    Once there, whl tells you they offer
    Quotetruly amazing 'off the beaten track' destinations in our network


    OK, great, Marshall Islands is certainly off the beaten track, so I clicked on destinations, which listed the regions in the world covered by whi (essentially, every apparent continent and region except Australia, Antartica, New Zealand and North America. One of their regions is Oceania. If you click on Oceania, you get to choose between the following countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands.

    What about the Marshall Islands?

    Sorry, apparently the Marshall Islands is a bit too far off the beaten path for whl travel - there is no link, no offers, no mention of the Marshall Islands anywhere on its web site.

    So, here is the current bottom line:

    [*] Whl travel was paid by someone, presumably the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, to develop its new official tourism promotin web site.

    [*] Whl travel maintains it own web site, through which you can book travel / tours/ accomodations to countries and destinations "off the beaten path."

    [*] Oceania is one of the regions promoted by whl travel on its Web site -- but

    [*] You cannot find any links, information, or assistance regarding the Marshall Islands on the whl Web site.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
  • Thought I should update - now seven months later and your Government's offiicial tourism site is still horrible - actually worse. Apparently all have given up on maintaining an upcoming calendar of events that tourists might be interested in attending. Activities that I think would be heavily promoted on the site - like Waan Aelõñ in Majel - are not mentioned. Why not at least have a link to the Waan Aelõñ in Majel Facebook page they update on occasion - check it out at https://www.fac…ok.com/wam.rmi.

    The old limitations remain. There are hardly any photos on your nation's tourism site and the photos that were posted five months ago are the same photos posted today - that will not encourage return visits. Other than a fishing operation under Ben Reimers, it appears most of the promoted activities are not owned or operated by Marshallese. And finally, you still cannot book at room at RRE or the Marshall Islands Report (Long Island Hotel is routinely the only option offered - why is that the only Majuro hotel available here?).

    But I do have good news. You CAN book a room on line at the Marshall Islands Resort on well known site http://www.booking.com! This is a big big improvement. On the official RMI site, when ask for a room from 5 - 11 June 2014; the official site advises the Marshall Islands Resort (and RRE) are sold out. On Booking.com, I can reserve and pay on line for a room at the Marshall Islands Resort for those same nights! The rate is very reasonable -- $440 for five nights for two adults (that's $88 per night) and the rate includes the 4% value added tax -- and each person also gets breakfast each morning, no additional charge. You can use VISA or Mastercard to book the room. And there are several nice photos of the Marshall Islands Resort and its surroundings. Bottom line, Booking.com is doing a good job of promoting your Resort but the Web site paid for and operated by the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority is not.

    Memo to Collette Reimers at RRE -- suggest that you look into getting listed at Booking.com. If Marshall Islands Resort (and the Arno Beachcomer Lodge - which you can also reserve on Booking.com for $50 per night) can get on Booking.com, why not RRE?

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
  • Don't know if coincidence or connected to my prior post but in any case, if go on http://www.booking.com today, will find the cost per night for two adults to stay at Marshall Islands Resort is $125 per night, a 40%+ increase over the $88 per night offered less than one week ago. From checking several time frames, it does not appear to matter when book room for - if book for tonight, next week, or five months from now, still $125 per night. Each person does still get a free breakfast every morning.

    Wish I could say over the past week something had improved at the http://www.visi…allislands.com Web site but alas, no improvement noted.

    “I hope the signing of the LUA (Land Use Agreement) allows the Government of the Marshall Islands more time to focus on the biggest issues it faces – how to raise the level of education and health of the Marshallese people and how to create an economy that will be stable after direct US funding ends in 2023.”
    US Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Martha Campbell, as quoted by MI Journal, 13 May 2011, pg 4
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