May Tourism Month was a ‘resounding success’


Thirty-three students from school MY WAVE Clubs visit Mariana Resort & Spa on May 26, 2018, as for the in-depth “See My Marianas” tour coordinated by the Marianas Visitors Authority and Marianas Tourism Education Council. (MVA)

Tourism Month 2018 closed with a long list of activities demonstrating that across both public and private sectors in the Marianas, “tourism is everybody’s business.”

The 20th Annual Taste of the Marianas International Food Festival & Beer Garden returned to American Memorial Park this year, marking an increase in the number of vendors and the highest-ever month of sales for four consecutive Saturdays.

This year’s festival also garnered the support of several local businesses in helping the Marianas Visitors Authority stage the first-ever The Hut Burrito Challenge, J’s Fried Chicken Eating Competition ruled by Japan food fighter Sachiyo Masubuchi, and Joeten Barbecue Ribs Cook-off.

On the final night in the Certified Angus Beef Chefs’ Competition, Jonathan Borja of Hyatt Regency Saipan and his Korean Short Ribs bested seven other junior chefs for the best taste, presentation, and creativity/use of local produce. Placing second and third were Richard Meimban of Grandvrio Resort Saipan and Vicente Montoya of Fiesta Resort & Spa, respectively. The winners received cash prizes from the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands and gift packages from Triple J Five Star Wholesale.

On May 25, the MVA also hosted a “See My Marianas” tour for a busload of MY WAVE (Marianas Youth Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically) students from San Vicente Elementary, Kagman Elementary, Hopwood Jr. High, and Saipan Southern High. Joined by MVA Community Projects specialist Demalyn Pagarao, the students started with a tour of the MVA office. Mariana Resort & Spa showed the day-to-day operations of their front office and food and beverage departments. Students also took a tour of the Mariana Oceans factory and retail shop.

“The day ended at Marianas Trekking, where MVA board member Chris Nelson showed what kind of tours they offer and talked to the students about the importance of showing our tourist a memorable time with wondrous adventures,” said Pagarao.

PDI tour guide Jack Kileleman provided historical information of various sites along the tour route.

“Every year MVA and MTEC visit public schools and hold the annual MTEC Tourism Summit to teach students about tourism, and our Tourism Month tour allows students to explore the industry more in-depth, ask more questions, and deepen their understanding,” said MVA Community Projects manager and MTEC board member Martin Duenas. “We’ve even had one participant say she wants to become the general manager of one our local hotels. That’s the inspiration we aim to spark!”

Several schools also joined the MVA in conducting roadside waving on May 18 at their campuses to show support for tourism. Participating schools were Marianas High, Saipan Southern High, William S. Reyes Elementary, Garapan Elementary, San Vicente Elementary, Kagman Elementary, Oleai Elementary, Cha Cha Middle School, and Hopwood Middle School.

Other activities for the month included a pre-Tourism Month cleanup with tourism partners led by Japan Saipan Travel Association, a proclamation signing at the Office of the Governor, an Instagram contest, a graphic arts design contest for middle and high school students, tourism trivia on KCNM-KZMI, KKMP, and Power 99, and more.

“Thanks to the hard work of our staff and the incredible partnership of our community and the tourism industry, this year’s Tourism Month celebration has been a resounding success,” said MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion. “We are extremely grateful for the strong show of support from all our partners—from the students all the way up to the owners and presidents of local businesses and organizations—for joining with the MVA in celebrating tourism, the industry that makes our Marianas a great place to live, work, and visit. We have a lot to be proud of as a destination, and we will continue to work with all our partners toward making our Marianas even better.”

Tourism Month is celebrated every May in the Marianas. (MVA)

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