To promote the Marianas to travelers from Taiwan, the Marianas Visitors Authority organized a familiarization tour with Taiwanese media to Saipan, Tinian, and Rota on Dec. 15-22, 2019.
The group included representatives of Next TV and ET Today. Next TV will produce two programs on the visit expected to generate $900,000 in media value when distributed via their official website, social media, and YouTube channels. The tour was also joined by Intern to The Marianas Yu Chia “Alex” Liu, who was selected from among350 contestants to help promote the Marianas in Taiwan.
“Taiwan is an important source market for the Marianas due to its proximity and the fact that the Taiwanese can travel here without a visa,” said MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo. “We continue to work toward building awareness and demand for the Marianas in Taiwan through media [familiarization] tours such as this, along with many other marketing projects such as participation in trade fairs and travel shows, Marianas seminars, social media, and more.”
The tour itinerary began with making coconut candy and mwaar (flower head leis) and painting with banana stalks at Saipan World Resort, led in part by PDI managing director Gordon Marciano.5 00 Sails executive director Peter Perez was interviewed about the
organization’s efforts to revive the construction and use of traditional Micronesia sailing canoes in the Marianas. The group dove at Lau Lau Beach with a Wave Dive Trip guide and snorkeled at Grotto with Saipan Adventure instructors.
“The team was amazed by the cleanliness underwater and live sea creatures,” said Iakopo. “They were also interested in and interviewed our staff about the Beautify My Marianas project, highlighting our efforts to protect the local environment.”
2019 Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto welcomed the group to her family home to participate in making and enjoying traditional Chamorro dishes, including titiyas, koko, chicken kelaguen, and fried reef fish. After an impromptu invitation later in the visit, the group also enjoyed a casual family barbecue at Paupau Beach with MVA marketing specialist Hillary Agulto, who was their guide on Saipan.
A tour of Imperial Pacific International Casino was taken, including an inspection of luxury villas and a welcoming dinner at Chairman M restaurant. The group also visited Revolving Restaurant 360 and took a sunset cruise aboard Jade Lady and a 30-minute discovery flight around Saipan with Star Marianas. At Marianas Creations, the group interviewed the owner of the bar, café, and Marianas-made souvenir shop. Other sites visited included Santa Lourdes Shrine, Banzai Cliff, Last Command Post, and Garapan Street Market, and Mt. Tapochao, the highest point on island.
On Tinian, the group interviewed historian Don Farrell about the island’s rich prehistoric and World War II history before visiting the giant limestone monoliths of the ancient Chamorro House of Taga site and the atomic bomb loading pits, Runway Able, and other World War II sites. MVA Tinian Field Operations supervisor Vida Borja personally led the group on a excursion to find—and sample—the island’s famously spicy donni sali hot pepper.
On Rota, students of Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr./Sr. High School welcomed the group with a traditional dance at Teteto Beach. The group visited the Japanese-era sugar mill, As Nieves Latte Stone Quarry, and Swimming Hole and lodged at Rota Resort and Country Club. (MVA)