Century Tours and the Northern Marianas College’s Community Development Institute have started a new collaboration, this time focusing on the promising prospects of educational tourism.
The two have just started their first-ever educational tourism trips around Saipan, with the aim of teaching tourists about the environment, government, history, and culture of the CNMI.
According to Century Tours operations manager Owen Ji, the visiting group of two Chinese families are from Shenzhen, China which is in southern China near Hong Kong. The families consist of a mix of elementary and high school students with their families.
The group arrived last Monday and will be here until Friday.
The group has already visited the the NMI Museum of History & Culture, the CNMI Legislature, the office of Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) in Susupe, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, and the American Memorial Park.
Ji told Saipan Tribune that this is the first time Century Tours and CDI have done an educational tourism trip, and hopes that they can sustain this effort.
CDI director Arthur De Oro said the group also toured the college on Monday and told them about the CNMI’s relationship with the United States, and the history and culture of the CNMI. De Oro accompanies the group as they continue their trip around Saipan.
De Oro said that they are following the footsteps of the Marianas Visitors Authority’s initiative to promote educational tourism, which draws in tourists and allows them to learn about the place that they are visiting. He said that they also worked with the 500 Sails program with the possibility of educating tourists about sailing, canoe-making, and other activities.
De Oro also said it is the CDI’s initiative to work with the tourists and take care of the certification of the tour guides.
Saipan Mayor David A. Apatang thanked Century Tours and NMC for making this possible, as he believes that the tourists should see the potential that Saipan has to draw more tourists. The group visited his office yesterday.
One of the elementary students, who identified himself only as Armani, said that he loves the islands and he hopes to visit again next year. He finds the people friendly, the food great, and finds it interesting how the indigenous culture is kept alive.