WHEN TOURISM REOPENS
By the time the CNMI reopens its borders to tourism, some 21 tourist sites will be world-class and ready to receive visitors, according to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres on Friday.
Speaking at a radio news briefing, Torres praised the CNMI’s business community for partnering with the government in making sure that the 21 tourist sites on the island are ready for the resumption of tourism. In particular, Torres cited Governor’s Council of Economic Adviser chair Jerry Tan and all other business partners for stepping up in preparing the tourist sites. “I don’t want to start giving names of companies because I’m sure I’m [going to] miss one. But they have all stepped up,” he said.
Last May, Torres abolished the Strategic Economic Development Council and created the 14-member Governor’s Council of Economic Adviser that will advise him on how the CNMI economy can be restarted and its borders reopened. The council also created the Public-Private Initiative, where private businesses adopt specific sites on the islands and commit to maintaining them for five years. The governor said that many businesses have signed on to this partnership. “We’re looking at just about every tourist site, from Bird Island all the way down to…Ladder Beach,” he said.
Torres said they are working together in making sure that the islands’ tourist sites will be world class by the time the CNMI reopen for tourism. “I know that some of the sites in the north are closed to the public, but the good reason is that they are renovating it. They’re remodeling it, they’re painting, cutting down old trees. And some are planting new trees,” he said.
The goal, he said, is to bring in all business partners and work with Marianas Visitors Authority, Department of Corrections, and other agencies.
“With the tourist sites, it gives us this opportunity to make them a lot better than when we left off pre-COVID,” Torres said.
At this point, though, there is still no word as to when the CNMI will reopen its borders to tourists.