MVA: Thousands of tourists lost


Expressing grave concern over the announcement that Mariana Resort & Spa and the Mariana Country Club will be closing business at the end of this month, the Marianas Visitors Authority said yesterday that the shutdown potentially translates into thousands of tourists lost because of the lack of rooms.

When asked for comments about Kan Pacific’s decision, MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion said the closure means nearly 120 hotel rooms will be out of their inventory.

The MVA’s budget will also be negatively affected, Concepcion said, because this will mean reduced hotel occupancy tax collection.

He said they are concerned that there’s not enough time between now and Sept. 30 to find a suitable hotel operator who will be able to maintain staffing and keep up with daily maintenance of the sprawling resort, the cottages and restaurants, the attached Mandi Asian Spa, the Kan Pacific swimming pool, the go-kart racing area, and Mariana Country Club.

“The last thing we want is for Mariana Resort to close or become abandoned,” he said.

Noting that the Kan Pacific Group is one of the oldest investors in the CNMI, Concepcion said it is distressing to see the company close down after over 40 years of operation.

“This should not be allowed to happen,” he added.

Concepcion said MVA is working doubly hard to revive the Japan market and having anchor Japanese investments here like Kan Pacific sends a strong signal to the market that the CNMI still values its partners from Japan.

“It is highly critical that we all work together as a community to ensure the future of the Japan market remains bright,” he said.

Kan Pacific president Yoshihiro Kitami informed employees in a letter last week that they would be closing the Mariana Resort & Spa and the Mariana Country Club by Sept. 30.

This means the fate of 141 employees of Kan Pacific is in limbo.

“As you are very well aware, Kan Pacific’s public land lease expired and was not granted an extension. Thus, we have no other choice but to close down operations and vacate our Marpi premises and facilities,” Kitami told the employees.

Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC is expected to take over the operations of Mariana Resort & Spa’s facilities, as it was the lone company that submitted a bid for the property with the Department of Lands when the MRS lease expired this year. In social media posts, DPL has expressed itself perplexed about the decision, saying it was Kan Pacific itself that chose not to participate in the bidding process for the properties.

It was earlier reported that Close to 30 employees will be retained to continue with Kan Pacific’s other business ventures: the Zen Teppanyaki restaurant in Garapan, the Mariana Lounge, and the Mariana Grand Service.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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