Despite limited funds, MVA cites accomplishments in Q1


Although the Marianas Visitors Authority had limited funding in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022 due to the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it managed to organize events to gradually restart its programs and activities, according to MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo.

In MVA’s first quarter report for fiscal year 2022 submitted to the Legislature Thursday, Iakopo said these events include the Marianas Tourism Education Council and MVA Educational Outreach program, “A Night at the Park,” Saipan Katori Shrine Remote Ceremony and Japanese Autumn Festival, and Christmas in the Marianas.

Public Law 22-08, or the CNMI Budget Act for fiscal year 2022, suspended certain earmarked funds, including MVA’s share of the Hotel and Occupancy Tax. Iakopo said MVA was provided an allocation of just $2.01 million from local funds and $1.09 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.


With a total of $3.11 million minus 1% for the Office of the Public Auditor fee, MVA’s operations budget in fiscal year 2022 was just $3.08 million, she said.

For the first quarter, as of Dec. 31, 2021, total actual expenditures for personnel and all other costs amounted to $692,782. This left a remaining budget of $2.38 million for personnel and all other costs.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, the grand total for actual expenditures for advertising and marketing was $145,132. This left a balance of $642,786 for advertising and marketing for the fiscal year.

The Marianas Tourism Education Council and MVA Educational Outreach program was held in October 2021 to educate high school students, including those in Tinian and Rota, about the importance of tourism. The program’s theme this year is “Safe Travel and Marianas Tourism.”

“A Night at the Park” was held at the Sugar King Park on Oct. 31, 2021. MVA collaborated with the Saipan Mayor’s Office in hosting a Halloween night.

The Saipan Katori Shrine Remote Ceremony and Japanese Autumn Festival was held on Nov. 20, 2021. MVA assisted the Japanese Society of the Northern Marianas by providing tents and portable toilets at Paseo de Marianas and Sugar King Park.

Christmas in the Marianas in December 2021 was eventually cancelled due to increasing number of COVID-19 cases but planning already got started. Iakopo said that, even with the cancellation, MVA proceeded with decorating the Garapan Fishing Base with ornaments to show the holiday spirit.

Iakopo also noted that the Grotto reopened to the public this year after over a year of being closed due to the renovations. The reopening was made possible through the Public-Private Partnership formed under the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and five other private companies that adopted the site.

She said the Grotto has been given a much-needed facelift, with its steps and railings fixed, its viewing deck resurfaced and revamped, its restrooms cleaned, and a new Grotto sign was affixed.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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