MVA board welcomes back former chair

Posted on Jun 21 2012
By Moneth Deposa

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, left, administers the swearing in for four newly elected members of the Marianas Visitors Authority board of directors during the agency's general membership meeting yesterday at Fiesta Resort & Spa Hotel. Newly elected board of directors include, from right, Jerry Tan of Tan Holdings, Kazusuke Fukuju of Pacific Micronesia Tours Inc., Chris Nelson of Marianas Trekking/Flame Tree TV, and James Nelson of Docomo Pacific. (Clarissa V. David)  Businessman Jerry Tan is back at the Marianas Visitor Authority after its board of directors unanimously voted to reinstate its former chairman yesterday.

The MVA is governed by a nine-member board of directors, five of them are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

The remaining four are elected by board members of the MVA. Tan’s appointment was junked by the Senate in December 2010, citing Tan’s alleged lack of support for tourism on Tinian and Rota as among the reasons.

During yesterday’s election of new board members, Tan, president of Tan Holdings, was among the four individuals who won by acclamation and was sworn into office by Gov. Benigno R. Fitial.

The three others included James Nelson of Docomo Pacific, Kazusuke Fukuju of Pacific Micronesia Tours Inc., and Chris Nelson of Marianas Trekking/Flame Tree TV. All members will serve a four-year term.

Tan expressed appreciation to the members for the vote of confidence and vowed to do his best to help in the recovery of the tourism industry on island.

Among his top priorities is to advocate and push for greater community engagement to tourism, which he described remains the sole and only industry of the CNMI. In acknowledging the ongoing challenges that negatively impact island tourism, Tan said he looks forward in working again with MVA and its partners. Tan held the chairmanship position for five years.

Chris Nelson, for his part, said he will take his new responsibility seriously, while James Nelson described the appointment as a great opportunity to extend care and help for the islands’ tourism industry.

Fukuju, meantime, promised to bring to the table important information about the outside markets that will help the board in its decision-making. All four newly sworn members extended their gratitude for the vote of confidence from their peers.

In his message to the MVA members yesterday, Fitial commended the agency and its board, which despite limited resources, has helped the CNMI economy stay afloat. Fitial said he joined MVA and Tan in a recent trip to Japan for the launching of Saipan Air and described the reception as very positive.

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