Interisland cruises on traditional canoes eyed
The Marianas Visitors Authority’s 10-year strategic plan includes opening the Northern Islands to tourism and highlighting the Chamorro and Carolinian heritage.
MVA deputy managing director Judy Torres shared these with members of House of the Representatives Ways and Means Committee during a hearing about the MVA’s budget last week.
Torres said the plan, which the MVA board of directors recently adopted, is intended to create a sustainable tourism industry from 2021 to 2031. It targets high-end tourists that spend more and stay longer, and provides a more diverse and authentic experience for visitors.
She said this plan identifies a number of goals and objectives to accomplish by 2031, among which is to promote the Chamorro and Carolinian cultures. This has already started with the launch of the Hafa Adai and Tirow Pledge program.
She said they will also begin an annual study on the economic impact of visitor spending, and conduct studies on visitor satisfaction and residents’ sentiment toward tourism.
For marketing, there will be an annual report on the return on marketing investment, getting local cuisine on menus in restaurants, establishing interisland cruises on traditional canoes, encouraging sports and ecotourism, identifying where tourists can experience authentic local culture, and getting more local arts and crafts in stores.
For community programs, Torres said they will be educating MVA members on the Chamorro and Carolinian cultures, and creating an annual calendar of international sporting events.
For destination enhancements, Torres said, they will complete renovation and repairs in various sites such as the Bird Island sanctuary and Teteto Beach on Rota, establish tourist accommodations in the Northern Islands, and establish shower stalls in beaches to improve visitor experience. For safety and security, MVA will establish a tourism ambassador program in Garapan by 2025.
“Of course, most of these objectives will require…additional funding,” she said.
Torres said they believe this strategic plan creates a very clear path for tourism in the next 10 years.