Thus assured Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Chris Concepcion yesterday in the wake of a Department of Public Lands’ announcement last week that it is seeking bids for the Managaha concession.
Concepcion said the DPL announcement of solicitations for proposals to handle the Managaha Island Master Concession Operator hasn’t stopped the influx of tourists that visit Managaha daily.
“It is business as usual in Managaha,” he said, which means the tours and various water sports activities on the island are still ongoing.
The master concession for Managaha is currently being handled by Tasi Tours.
Concepcion did not comment on DPL’s RFP for a master concession on the island and left the issue to DPL’s jurisdiction.
Since 1989, Tasi Tours has been managing and operating the concession on Managaha Island. That agreement expired in August 2016 and TASI tours has been paying DPL a monthly fee since then.
Saipan Tribune sought comments from Tasi Tours president Masato Tezuka, but he declined to give a statement
In an earlier interview, Tezuka said that Managaha Island is the jewel of Saipan.
“It is very important to both residents and tourists and is one of the very well-protected places on Saipan. We would like to keep it that way—preserve its natural beauty and maintain and sustain it for residents and tourists,” Tezuka added.
Based on Saipan Tribune archives from June last year, DPL Secretary Marianne Teregeyo differentiated a contract of concession from a contract of lease over Managaha Island.
She explained that a lease requires issuing a request for proposal, or RFP. It entitles the lessee to have total authority over the property, including selecting those who have access to the property, setting the times the property may be entered, and even deciding whether the property is open to the public or not.
A concession agreement, on the other hand, allows the company to operate specific businesses within the lot. Concession agreements are open to the public as the lot is still under the jurisdiction of DPL.
Teregeyo further said that in the event DPL chooses to issue an RFP they will be advertising it.
“We are coming up with an analysis of the previous agreements and how we can change that to better benefit [the CNMI]…If not, we would be notifying the people of DPL’s decision,” she added.
Last week, an RFP notice and advertisement came out soliciting proposals from qualified firms interested in taking up the exclusive master concession operator for service and activities on or relating to Managaha Island.