MTEC Tourism Summit on Jan. 26, 2017

‘Discover My Marianas’

TripAdvisor head of Destination Marketing APAC Sarah Mathews will speak at the Marianas Tourism Education Council Tourism Summit on Jan. 26, 2016, on Saipan. (MVA)

TripAdvisor head of Destination Marketing APAC Sarah Mathews will speak at the Marianas Tourism Education Council Tourism Summit on Jan. 26, 2016, on Saipan. (MVA)

The Marianas Tourism Education Council will hold its annual MTEC Tourism Summit for CNMI Public School System students on Jan. 26, 2017, at Fiesta Resort & Spa. The summit is expected to gather 300 MY WAVE Club members to learn more about tourism, with special emphasis on discovering more about the special qualities that make their Marianas home attractive to visitors.

This year’s summit theme is “Discover My Marianas” and will feature remarks by TripAdvisor head of Destination Marketing APAC Sarah Mathews.

Mathews, together with her team of four, is responsible for leading TripAdvisor’s efforts and initiatives in collaborating with and providing support to tourism boards across Asia Pacific as well as developing strategies that will drive awareness for each destination. Her insights into the regional travel industry has made her a consistent figure in trade shows and conferences where she shares case studies and best practices of key industry players. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Sarah is proficient in Chinese and has spent most of her life living in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Australia, allowing her to have an in-depth understanding of the region’s cultural needs and sensitivities.

Mathews is also part of the executive board of Pacific Asia Travel Association, currently holding the position of vice chairman.

“All the speakers at the tourism summit are going to share their knowledge about destination marketing with the students,” said MTEC chair Vicky Benavente. “The MTEC board continues to educate our youth about their role in our tourism industry and how they can help promote the beauty and uniqueness of our islands as a destination for visitors.”

The summit is also sponsored by T Galleria, Pacific Trading Co, and Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The following offices and organizations will also provide hands-on demonstrations at breakout stations during the summit: Marianas Visitors Authority, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Commonwealth Council for Arts & Culture, Coastal Resources Management, National Park Service, Historic Preservation Office, Northern Marianas Diving Operators Association, and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.

MTEC/MVA will be contacting schools with MY WAVE Clubs shortly to advise how students may register for the tourism summit. Seating is limited and will be coordinated by the MVA. For more information, contact MVA Community Projects specialist Ryan Calvo at or MVA Community Projects assistant Jennalyd Babauta at or 664-3200/3201.

MTEC was formed in 2002 to heighten the community’s awareness of the importance of tourism to the wellbeing of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands. MTEC’s stated mission is three-fold: to foster community understanding and support of the visitor industry; educate the general public, especially school students, about the value, social benefits, and economic contributions made to the community by the visitor industry; and to instill, improve and promote the “Hafa Adai-Tirow” hospitality spirit throughout the island community. (MTEC)

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