The Marianas Tourism Education Council announced the winners of its essay contest “Tourism is Everybody’s Business 24/7 in the 670” at Wednesday’s MTEC/MY WAVE (Marianas Youth Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically) Tourism Summit at Saipan World Resort.
Tenth grader Mary Grace Tiglao of Marianas High School garnered first place in the high school division, winning a round-trip to the Guam MY WAVE Tourism Summit, $75, and in-kind donations from members of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.
“Lots of tourists means a robust and booming economy, more money for the government and businesses, and more income for workers in tourism oriented industries,” wrote Tiglao. ”Tourism runs the CNMI. If we work together to maintain and take care of our island home, we’re not just making it appealing for others to see but we’re also preserving all of its natural beauty for our future generations to enjoy. Wouldn’t it be nice to do something for posterity?”
Solomon Ko and Lee Ann Jastillana of Marianas High won second and third place in their division, respectively.
Seventh grader Marchie Lynn Sayas of Hopwood Junior High won first place in the junior high division, winning $50 cash and in-kind donations. Sayas offered a number of suggestions for the public to contribute to tourism.
“Participate in cleanup drives…Make friends with first timers in Saipan…Be vigilant. Report wrongdoings such as stealing or harming done by bad people to tourists…Encourage the youth to participate in hotel and restaurant training and give benefits to them,” wrote Sayas.
Tyra Reese Calvo and Marnecia Hope Hocog of Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja won second and third palace in the junior high division, respectively.
Sixth grader Alice Kim of Garapan Elementary won first place in the elementary division, earning $50 cash and in-kind donations.
“We need to get involved,” wrote Kim. “We need to identify all existing and potential new tourist destinations and maintain their cleanliness to make them presentable. All members of the community must work together to develop and/or support cultural festivals and year-round events that could open the doors to more tourists…Most of all, peace and safety of our visitors must be prioritized.”
Carol Lee and Mary Danga of Garapan Elementary won second and third place in the junior high division, respectively.
The essay contest was also supported with in-kind donations from Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Fiesta Resort, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort, Mariana Country Club, DFS Saipan, Aqua Resort Club and Saipan Sunset Cruise.
“With this year’s essay contest entries, we are beginning to see more sophistication in the level of understanding among the students about the tourism industry,” said MTEC chair Vicky Benavente. “MTEC has been making annual school presentations for three years now, and we are starting to see the results of that educational outreach, which we will continue to build on.”
Other participating schools were Tinian High, Marianas Baptist Academy, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr./Sr. High, and Saipan Southern High.
Benavente also acknowledged essay contest judges Chris Lubi of Ernst & Young, Catherine Perry of Integrity Communications, and educator and MTEC director Larry Lee.
MTEC is a non-profit organization aimed at educating the public on the tourism industry and its importance to the community. (MTEC)