Guam - Hoping to expand the cruise industry's ties to Guam and Micronesia, tourism oversight chair Senator Tina Muna Barnes is off-island attending meetings with cruise industry executives. According to her office, the trip is an effort to advance the objectives of the Micronesian chief executives and the Association of Pacific Island Legislators who have both endorsed the growth of cruise industries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Barnes left Guam on March 3 and has since met with cruise industry executives from Crystal Cruises International, Princess Cruises, Holland American Lines and Seabourne Cruises. Barnes was accompanied by the members of the Micronesian Cruise Association including president Gerry Perez and members Ann Marie Muna and Shelly Gibson, and Vincent Tafileluw of the Yap Visitor's Bureau.

Barnes is presently at Cruise Shipping Miami - the industry's leading international exhibition and conference in Florida with attendance expected by more than 1,800 cruise line owners and operators from 66 different companies. The conference continues until March 14. The other meetings took place in Los Angeles and Seattle.

Barnes hopes to explore the opportunities with the cruise industry at a time when it is looking for new markets which ultimately will help diversify the tourism base and position of Guam and the region.

Barnes returns this weekend.