The Commonwealth Development Authority is taking a “pro-active” approach in the government's efforts to improve the CNMI as a destination by offering financial assistance to companies that provide tourism-related services.
Executive director Manuel A. Sablan said yesterday that he met on Tuesday with Gov. Benigno R. Fitial who sought the agency's support in promoting the islands' primary industry.
“Anything that would promote tourism, we're behind it,” he said in an interview.
Established to provide economic loan funds to private and public sectors for economic development, CDA continues to promote investment opportunities in the Commonwealth, according to Sablan.
He said there is a need for the agency to project itself as pro-growth and pro-economic development especially at a time when tourist arrivals are on the rise with the additional charter flights.
Sablan emphasized that the need to upgrade and renovate existing tourism facilities and infrastructure in the Northern Marianas means potential investments that would generate economic activities in the islands.
As the CNMI's tourism industry picks up, Sablan said that the lack of hotel rooms to accommodate visitors presents a “good problem” since it offers an opportunity for businesses to expand.
Sablan said that CDA has several loan programs that would aid both existing and new investors in taking advantage of the upswing in the islands' number one industry.
Asked if there are companies that have sought their assistance for tourism-related endeavors, Sablan replied that only Saipan Surfrider, LLC has yet to do so.
The company, which is applying for CDA's qualifying certificate program, plans to build Surfrider Resort Spa & Beach Club at the site of the defunct Pacific Gardenia and Silver Hotel in Chalan Kanoa to address the growing demand on Saipan’s tourism industry and as part of a wider effort to revitalize the island's former capital.
Sablan said that Saipan Surfrider, LLC is scheduled to make a presentation in their February board meeting before the agency decides on the application.
He added that acquisition plans of E-Land and other foreign investors are also “positive news” that would aid the government's efforts in attracting tourists particularly from the China market which Sablan described as “evolving.”
For more information on CDA's loan programs, visit their office along Middle Road or call 234-6245.