Over 1,800 athletes, officials to stay at hotels
With 254 days to go before the start of the Northern Marianas Pacific Games 2022, organizing committee CEO Vicente “Ben” Babauta gave members of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce an update on the CNMI’s hosting preparations yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom.
The biggest takeaway from Babauta’s presentation is that the Commonwealth’s hosting of over 1,800 athletes and officials is expected to be the most comfortably ever in terms of accommodations in the history of the Mini Games. This is because instead of an athletes village the organizing committee has arranged for athletes and officials to be billeted in the CNMI’s several luxury hotels.
“First time in history that we will be having our athletes at the hotel, ever. We will be the best hosts ever!” said Babauta. “There will be approximately 600 rooms available for the athletes and 200 rooms for officials, technical support, and VIPs. Hotel gyms, function rooms, and their amenities will be heavily used.”
He said athletes and officials will start arriving as early as June 15, 2022 and the latest departure date is June 28, 2022. “So basically it’ll be an average of 10 days.
To this end, the Mini Games organizing committee CEO extended his thanks to the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands for its recent monetary donation for the islands’ hosting of the Mini Games.
“I will also like to recognize HANMI for their donation of $12,000 from their last golf tournament. Thank you HANMI!” he said.
In terms of transportation, Babauta said the Mini Games organizing committee has conscripted the Public School System’s fleet of school buses as well as the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority to ferry athletes from the designated hotels to the sports venues and back.
“Our PSS bus fleet will be the main transports for our athletes. COTA will also serve as the mode of commute between venues using fix stop along Beach Road,” said Babauta, who added that car rental companies will also be tapped for Mini Games officials and other VIPs.
Since he was already speaking to business leaders at the Chamber meeting, he shared that the Mini Games organizing committee is confident that the CNMI’s hosting of the Mini Games will stimulate the local economy.
“All athletes, team officials, and Pacific Games officials from the moment they land on Saipan will be staying an average of 10 days each….availing themselves of our islands’ rich culture and heritage and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout Saipan, Tinian, and Rota,” he said.
Businesses that are expected to take advantage of the influx of close to 2,000 athletes and officials for the Mini Games include catering services, food and beverage companies, telecoms that offer cell phone cards, retail and gift shops, and entertainment, just to name a few. A number of “adventurous” athletes and officials are also expected to take advantage of optional tours on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, which will certainly be a boon to local tour companies that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Babauta also took the opportunity to pitch to Chamber members the sponsorship packets the organizing committee will be offering for next year’s Mini Games.
“We are unveiling our Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 Sponsorship Booklet for your business opportunity. We understand the current business environment and we are open for pledges, commitment with payment plans, and we value always in-kind [sponsorships] either services, products, or resources.”
He said being a sponsor for the 2022 Mini Games comes with a lot of benefits, including a chance to showcase a company’s corporate social responsibility to delegates from visiting nations. It also provides invaluable branding exposure to a prestigious event in television and social media and new marketing opportunities to present product and services before, during, and after the Mini Games. Babauta added that sponsorships will instill pride in employees knowing that their company is part of the historic event.