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Lithuanian ambassador and honorary consults in US discuss business and tourism opportunities

Danuta Pavilenene, BC, Vilnius, 08.03.2011.Print version
On 5 March in St. Petersburg, the state of Florida, Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States of America Zygimantas Pavilionis and Lithuanian consuls general and honorary consuls in the U.S.A. discussed Lithuanian-U.S. relations in the areas of economy and tourism, and measures to improve it, reported BC the press service of the Foreign Ministry.

Ambassador Pavilionis noted that it was Lithuania's interest to ensure a steady development of transatlantic relations between Lithuania and the United States in all areas of cooperation. "A lot has been done to strengthen the Lithuanian-U.S. political and security union, but if we look at the statistics of mutual trade, investments and tourist flows, we will see that during twenty years since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the U.S.A., the economic cooperation of our countries has lagged behind," the Ambassador said.


Lithuanian honorary consul in the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky Ingrida Bublys presented the analysis of Lithuania-US economic relations and noted that Lithuania took only 82nd place on the U.S. import market and exported to the U.S.A. less than to China.


"Lithuania has not fully exhausted its trade potential in relations with the United States. Lithuanians have to more aggressively enter the U.S. market. The newly created representation model of Lithuanian companies' economic interests in the U.S.A. should also be facilitated this task. According to the model, mediator, selected by a public organization "Enterprise Lithuania, shall provided professional consulting services to companies upon entering the U.S. market," Bublys said.


Recently registered in Chicago and headed by Bublys, the company Lithuanian Trade Office has become the mediator.


At the meeting, heads of Lithuanian diplomatic representations and honorary consuls discussed how to apply in practice this new model for representation of business interests and how to strike an optimal balance by providing public and paid services.


Participants of the meeting agreed that from now on inquiries of a commercial nature received by Lithuanian honorary consuls and diplomatic representations in the United States, such as requests to carry out professional market research or to provide legal services, would be redirected to the Lithuanian Trade Office. In the meanwhile, diplomatic representations will take care to implement strategic business projects of the Government, attracting investments to Lithuania, carrying out the macroeconomic analysis of the country and other tasks in line with the public interest.


As one of such tasks, the Lithuanian Integrated Science, Studies and Business Centers (Valleys) project was discussed at the meeting. Director of public institution Sunrise Valley Andrius Bagdonas presented the project to honorary consuls. Honorary consuls welcomed the Integrated Science, Studies and Business Centers (Valleys) project. They noted that such valleys had been functioning in the U.S. for a long time and successfully, and promised their support to help find potential partners in the U.S.A.


The participants of the meeting agreed on specific next steps – the Lithuanian honorary consul in the state of Texas William Altman, whose professional activities relate to the development of similar valleys, will mediate in establishing contacts with the Valley of the University of Houston.


Honorary consuls submitted proposals and comments regarding the current Lithuanian national tourism strategy, according to which the U.S. market was so far attributed only to the third list of priority countries. This is reflected in today's statistics, as inbound tourism from the U.S.A. constitutes 2.3 percent of all tourists coming to Lithuania.


"The U.S. outbound tourism market is growing. According to the World Tourism Organization, an American tourist is statistically second world's most spending tourist. It would be unwise to miss this opportunity, especially because in the U.S. market Lithuania has several unique target groups – American Lithuanians and Litvaks. However, many Americans with Lithuanian roots have never been in Lithuania. It is possible to organize an advertising campaign to reach them, but it has never been done in 20 years," honorary consul in New York Rimantas Cesonis said.


Director of the Investment and Export Department of the Ministry of Economy Zivilë Krisciuniene informed Lithuanian honorary consuls about the country's tourism strategy that is currently being reviewed.


The participants of the meeting agreed that Lithuanian honorary consuls in the United States would convene a working group for submitting proposals on Lithuania's tourism strategy in the United States.


On 6 February Ambassador Pavilionis attended the ceremony and high mass that was organized by Lithuanian community in St. Petersburg on the occasion of the 11th of March, the Day of Re-establishment of the Independence of Lithuania. He also met with Gus Bilirakis, the U.S. Congressman for Florida, and representatives from one logistics company, and acquainted them with possibilities to transport cargo for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) via Lithuania to Afghanistan.

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