Two newly elected members were sworn into the Marianas Visitors Authority board, while four current board members were also sworn for another term during the MVA’s board meeting in San Jose last Aug. 5.
Board members Marian Aldan-Pierce will remain as chairwoman, Gloria Cavanagh will remain as vice chairwoman, Agida Quitugua will remain as secretary, while re-elected director Chris Nelson will take over as treasurer. Masato Tezuka, Japanese Society of Northern Marianas president who is also on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers, and Ivan Quichocho, TanHoldings executive, are the newly elected board members.
Aldan-Pierce said the board also needs to create a finance committee and a personnel committee, and to focus on destination enhancement. According to her, this will be a big part of their objective for this and next year.
As of right now, there are currently no marketing promotion. “There’s no market but it’s actually very key that we have that discussion with offshore and the current situation that we are in,” said Warren Villagomez, who is another board member.
Since Villagomez heads the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, he was nominated to participate in marketing, as well to give suggestions given “the new norm of COVID-19.”
“I know we’ve all kind of wonder what tourism is going to look like here in the near and far future and everyone I talked to is always brainstorming on what we could possibly do in the near- and long-term,” said Nelson.
Nelson suggested during the public comments portion of the board meeting if the task force is comfortable with the idea of having small universities ship some students to the islands as part of a “in-person school” where they could study marine biology and more per semester.
Aldan-Pierce said this is something for the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers to look into since they’re looking for a new business ideas for the CNMI. Additionally, since the islands have about 2,200 hotel rooms to fill, Nelson said it would take 5,000 kids to fill up every hotel room. He added that the students will have to quarantine, if the “in-person school” were to happen.
“The students could come in quarantine at the hotel and a two-week quarantine isn’t so bad if you’re staying for months in a place,” said Nelson. “That’s something we could talk about as a community if that’s something that the task force could be comfortable with.”
Although this is just a thought, bringing this idea to the economic council will help it look for “different businesses.” “The governor’s advisory board, basically has a committee…and they’re looking to different businesses for the CNMI, and that is a start,” said Cavanagh.