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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Explore Fairbanks has announced that it inked a deal with East West Marketing Corp. to represent them in China.

Fairbanks’ lead promoters on May 25 signed the contract in Beijing while part of Gov. Bill Walker’s 12-day “Opportunity Alaska” trade mission to the country, Alaska’s Journal of Commerce reported .

“This contractual relationship between Explore Fairbanks and East West marks another quantum leap for tourism from China to Alaska and for cultural exchange among our citizens,” Walker said.

Walker said prior to the trip that the trade mission was largely spurred by China President Xi Jinping’s extended layover in Anchorage on his way home from a meeting with President Donald Trump in April 2017.

Explore Fairbanks Tourism Director Scott McCrea said that the tourism arrangement will not only help Explore Fairbanks make traditional business connections with tour operators, travel agents and the like in the country’s top cities, but will also give the Alaska organization a presence on Chinese social media platforms such as WeChat and Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.

“We think here in the U.S. that we’re tied into our social media — within China I think it’s even more so, and it’s very difficult for us here in the U.S. to know now to use it properly without someone who, one, speaks the language, but is familiar with how to use those platforms to reach out, not just to travel trade (businesses) but to consumers as well,” McCrea said.

The arrangement will also build on the business missions to China that Explore Fairbanks has coordinated with Visit Anchorage and other travel trade companies, such as the Alaska Railroad over the past three years, McCrea said.

Explore Fairbanks officials said they hope partnering with East West Marketing can help raise awareness among Chinese travelers that Fairbanks is the premier place on Earth to see the northern lights.

“The Chinese visitor mix is changing and a majority of tourists are now fully independent travelers and seeking unique personal travel experiences,” East West Marketing CEO Alina Xiang said. “Fairbanks offers visitors a fascinating opportunity to experience the northern lights and create a lasting travel memory.”


Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce,