Visitors From Former Soviet States Visit Whaling City

By Don Cuddy
New Bedford Standard-Times

NEW BEDFORD — It was probably a first. A 31-year-old woman at the Day of Portugal celebration on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford on Sunday, asked for ID at the beer tent, produces a Kazakhstan passport.
Natalya Kletsova, executive director of the Four Seasons hotel in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s principal city, was visiting the city as part of a group touring the United States at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SABIT program.
The Special American Business Internship Training program is designed to build partnerships with business leaders in this vast region while generating investment and export opportunities for U.S. industry, according to the Department of Commerce Web site.
As part of their experience, the group was invited to New Bedford to see some of the city’s attractions yesterday.
“This is my first time in America and my first time in New Bedford,” said Kletsova, who had earlier in the day visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum and taken a harbor tour with New Bedford’s Economic Development Director Matt Morrissey. “Now I can show New Bedford when I go home,” Kletsova, an ethnic Russian, said as she purchased a genuine New Bedford souvenir: a Benfica hat.
Thanks to oil and gas revenues, Kazhaks are still travelling to overseas tourist destinations that include California, New York City and Orlando, Fla., Kletsova said.
Her group recently spent a week in Boston and a week in Washington, D.C., and will go to Orlando next. Its members included representatives from a variety of Eurasian countries, such as Ukraine and Moldova, which formed part of the former Soviet Union.
The members of this group are all in the hotel industry and hope to learn more about U.S. business practices while in this country.
Contact Don Cuddy at
June 15, 2009
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