This summer, the Marianas will be holding several festivities that will provide exciting experiences at the perfect time as we launch the reopening of our tourism economy.
First up is the Marianas Visitors Authority’s Hafa Adai & Tirow Summer Jam on Saipan on July 31, followed by Tinian’s Beef, Beer and Band set for Aug. 13-14. On Aug. 27-29, the much-awaited Taste of the Marianas on Saipan will return after a one-year hiatus. These events will highlight the Marianas’ culture and tradition through food, arts, and music.
Also this month, several schools have been designated as vaccination sites to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to residents, particularly to eligible students over the age of 12. Increasing the number of vaccination sites will help the Commonwealth’s goal of reaching herd immunity or achieving an 80% vaccination rate of the more than 42,000 eligible residents. As of July 12, we are at 66.9%.
Every Saturday during the month of July (July 17, 24, and 31), the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers will be hosting the Marianas Pride Beautification Event to encourage our community to participate in cleanups and improvement projects at specific locations, roadways, and sites on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. We have 60 sites adopted so far through the GCEA’s Public Private Partnership campaign, but there are additional tourist spots and facilities that need refreshing. We worked with MVA to identify key locations that will make the most impact to the overall condition of our islands before we open our doors to visitors. These projects include cleanup and repainting of the facilities at Last Command Post, Mt. Tapochau, Banzai Cliff, Bird Sanctuary on Rota, mural painting at the Benita Manglona Buildings, the House of Taga, Tinian Lookout, and the Suicide Cliff on Tinian. Please join us if you can. Details can be found on our website or social media pages. Community and sports groups have already signed up to volunteer.
On July 21, the GCEA will present the “Multi-Island Integrated Destination” plan to our leaders, lawmakers, and stakeholders. We will discuss Saipan’s key role in helping the Marianas revive and sustain tourism for the future. We encourage anyone who is interested in learning more to RSVP for the in-person meeting or the Zoom meeting details at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome the community’s feedback and support as we take a collaborative step toward getting our islands back on their feet.
The July events, the continued rise in the Marianas’ vaccination rate, and more relevant and impactful discussions about the future of our tourism economy are the kind of proactive approaches we need right now.
The travel corridor will kick off this weekend with a group of journalists, filmmakers, and social media influencers participating in a familiarization tour of Saipan on July 17. Some will be taking trips to Tinian and Rota. This is a very important visit for us. They will relay to potential visitors in South Korea that we are open and safe for travel. Let’s extend our warmest Hafa Adai and Tirow Wami spirit that we are known for and rally behind the festivities on Saipan and Tinian. We look forward to Rota’s events in the future that will draw residents and visitors and showcase Rota’s awe-inspiring natural beauty.
How we manage our first set of visitors will be critical for the impressions we make in our source markets, including our long-time source market, Japan. It will also guide us in how to keep the islands safe amid the ongoing pandemic. With the community’s support, we are encouraged that the Marianas is on the right track to recovery.
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at email@example.com.
Mike Sablan is vice president of Triple J Enterprises, Inc. and chairperson of the Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. As an advisory council for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.