The COVID-19 pandemic may have crushed the CNMI’s hopes for economic growth in 2020, but not the team spirit that the island community has shown for the past several months to get through this crisis and beyond.
From the initial 10 groups, 34 have now come together to support the Public Private Partnership initiative of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, with the adoption of 22 sites that will receive some major TLC [tender loving care] to prepare them when tourism to the CNMI resumes. GCEA and its partners see this initiative as a game-changer in the NMI’s bid to be a world-class destination and revitalize the tourism industry—the driving force of the islands’ economy that was hit hard by the pandemic.
“This downtime due to the pandemic gave us the opportunity to look at the improvements we must do in our sites and other key areas in our islands to make the CNMI better prepared in welcoming back visitors. We are excited with all these enhancement and beautification projects and we would like to thank our entire community for rallying behind this campaign,” said Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who co-chairs the GCEA with Jerry Tan.
Business establishments, government agencies, sports federations, non-government organizations, and ethnic groups have signed a five-year agreement with the PPP initiative and part of their commitment to the campaign is doing maintenance work at their adopted sites. Majority of these groups have been holding regular cleanup drives since August. They also did both minor and major repairs on facilities/features in their respective sites, with plans for future projects.
Through the collaborative efforts of the 34 groups and other stakeholders that are being encouraged to join the cause, GCEA is positive that the CNMI will be able to showcase more the beauty of the islands, its rich culture, and the hospitality of its people. With everyone contributing to this initiative, GCEA is hopeful that CNMI tourism can ramp back up and regenerate the jobs and tax revenues we need to get through the pandemic and gain momentum toward building a stronger economy that benefits all.
“We, as one community, have proven time and again that we can overcome challenges. We did it when we had Soudelor and Yutu. Now, we have this pandemic and we will all come out of this stronger and better. Together, we can CNMI,” Torres said. (PR)