MVA: Most hotels need renovation or total overhaul

To attract high-quality tourists, many of the hotels in the CNMI would need to renovate or rebuild from the ground up, according to the top official of the Marianas Visitors Authority.

Christopher Concepcion, MVA’s managing director, said that most hotel properties in the CNMI have outdated accommodations that need to be renovated or overhauled completely very soon.

“This is a major issue when attracting high-spending visitors to the CNMI,” said Concepcion in response to Saipan Tribune’s questions pertaining to the availability of hotel rooms.

He said that even with increased tourist arrivals, the CNMI at this time still has enough hotel rooms and he believes that their partners in the hotel industry are ready for the increase in arrivals from Japan and Taiwan.

“The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands is a great partner in this regard,” he said.

Concepcion said they completely agree with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ statement in his recent State of the Commonwealth Address that the CNMI must focus on quality and not just quantity with respect to visitor arrivals.

“This is absolutely what we’ve been preaching for many years now,” he said.

The MVA, Concepcion said, markets the CNMI as a high-end beach resort destination and that is their way of attracting quality tourists.

“This is important for the overall wellbeing of the CNMI,” he said, adding that quality tourists have less impact on the infrastructure and more environmentally aware of the fragile ecosystem.

He said quality tourists also spend more money in the islands’ stores, restaurants, and other businesses.

“This is what the MVA strives for,” Concepcion said.

However, in order to attract quality tourists, the CNMI needs first-class hotel properties, first-class attractions, and more dining options, he said.

He said the CNMI needs a brand new 21st century airport, upgraded roads and infrastructure, and landscaped sidewalks all around Hotel Street and the Garapan Core, Beach Road, and Middle Road.

Concepcion added that there is a need to stop allowing runoff to pollute the lagoon every time it rains.

He said the CNMI must meet the quality tourists’ expectations when they arrive.

“We already have our natural beauty as our top attraction, our diving, our golf, our green and blue surroundings, our history and ancient culture, our friendly people,” he said.

But sophisticated travelers, Concepcion pointed out, are used to seeing a Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, Andaz, or Conrad and “the CNMI has a long way to go to get there.”

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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