More than 300 students and advisers of school tourism clubs joined the Jan. 19 Marianas Tourism Education Council Tourism Summit at Kensington Hotel Saipan for a day of learning focused on the Marianas’ primary economic driver, tourism.
Members of the schools’ MY WAVE—Marianas Youth Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically—Clubs in grades 3-12 convened for the day’s event, co-organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority.
The theme of this year’s summit was, “We’re Back with Respect! Our People, Our Land, Our Guests,” reflecting the resumption of the Marianas tourism industry and the value of respect among the people of the Marianas, which includes respect for natural resources and visitors.
Guess speaker Dr. Bobby Cruz, State Education Agency director for Public School System Mental Health, issued a call to the young leaders titled “Tourism: Bringing the Magic Back,” challenging them to become aware of and help promote the unique qualities of the Marianas, including its indigenous cultures, the warmth of the community, and its peaceful, natural beauty.
Kuen-Hee Han, managing director of 500 Sails, introduced students to the goal of the organization to revive the indigenous maritime traditions of the Marianas.
Gordon Marciano, managing director and part-owner of tour company Pacific Development Inc., tied into the summit’s theme by encouraging students to connect with visitors and to maintain a positive attitude while extending island hospitality.
“We asked the students for two things: to listen carefully to the guest speakers and have fun learning about our tourism industry,” said MTEC acting chairwoman Vicky Benavente.
Clubs also presented on their accomplished activities and upcoming plans. Participating schools were Tinian Jr./Sr. High School, Garapan Elementary, Kagman Elementary, San Vicente Elementary, Koblerville Elementary, Oleai Elementary, Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary, William S. Reyes Elementary, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, Admiral Gilbert Hopwood Middle School, Tanapag Middle School, Da’ok Academy, Chacha Oceanview Middle School, Marianas High School, Saipan Southern High, Kagman High, and Dandan Middle School.
The summit also featured educational exhibits by the MVA, Northern Marianas Technical Institute, Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Northern Marianas College, Northern Mariana Islands Museum of History & Culture, CNMI Public School System, 500 Sails, Coastal Resources Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and Mariana Islands Nature Alliance.
MTEC’s outreach activities this school year are supported by the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands and the MVA.
The event was also attended by House Speaker Edmund Villagomez, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada, MVA acting managing director Judy C. Torres, and Northern Marianas College president and MTEC board member Dr. Galvin Guerrero.
Other MTEC board members are Martin Duenas (Marianas Visitors Authority), Larry Lee, Naomi Nishimura (CNMI Public School System), Marciano (PDI), Catherine Perry (Integrity Communications), and Glenn Policare (Kanoa Resort).
For more information on MTEC, contact MVA community projects specialist Jack Aranda at email@example.com. (MTEC)