IN MARIANAS FAMILIARIZATION TOURS

Rota Coconut Festival and more…

Taiwanese and Russian media recently got a taste of the multiple islands of the Marianas on a familiarization tour organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority and highlighted by the Rota Coconut Festival.

Participants from Taiwan represented media and key travel agents, including Phoenix Tours, PIC Taiwan, JH Tours, Dynamic Air, Jin Air, and ROAM magazine.

Five Russian magazines also attended: Aeroflot, the inflight magazine of the nation’s No. 1 air carrier by the same name; Ural Airlines’ magazine and JetSet, an inflight magazine for the business class of Ural Airlines; VIM magazine of VIM Airlines; S7 magazine of S7 Airlines; and Uyutnoe Nebo, the UTair Aviation official inflight magazine.

The group members were surprised to discover the many uses of the coconut tree during the Rota Coconut Festival, where they also witnessed a coconut husking competition, coconut grinding competition, “ayuyu” (coconut crab) race, a fashion show, a night market, and more. The group also visited Swimming Hole, As Matmos Cliff, As Nieves Latte Stone Quarry, Teteto Beach, a historic Japanese-era sugar cane factory, Japanese cannon, and Songsong Village Lookout.

“This is an island that contains many surprises. There are so many natural features,” said PIC Taiwan general manager Alex Lei of Rota. “It would be useful if there were installed signage boards that have more stories, introducing each particular attraction. We could also come up with some evening activities such as an astronomical observatory or Chamorro dance performance. That way visitors can enjoy both day and night life on Rota.”

Experiencing the snorkeling and water activities on Managaha, the members were amazed at the cleanliness and rich sealife underwater.

“Managaha is well-maintained with facilities, sand, and underwater scenery. It is the perfect place for family visitors for a fun day out,” said Terry Chang, Phoenix Tours vice president.

A one-hour UTV drive to Mt. Tapochoa took the group on bumpy mountain roads under the watchful eye of a tour leader.

“This is the most unforgettable moment in my life,” said Cheers Tang, JH Tours sales manager. “The ride was worthwhile to get dirty. It is definitely a must-try activity ion Saipan”

Parrot fish eskabeche, chicken kelaguen, beef short ribs, and other local delicacies were sampled at Boka Boka restaurant. More food adventures were had at the Garapan Street Market, including apigigi, local barbecue choices, and soursop juice.

The group also visited the Imperial Pacific Resort and praised the interior design and the high-end service at the newly opened casino.

Virtual reality and 360-degree photos of attractions valued at $15,000 were taken and will be made available to the MVA for further marketing.

The Taiwan group lodged at Grandvrio Resort Saipan, Rota Resort & Country Club, and Kensington Hotel Saipan. The Russian group lodged at Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Rota Resort & Country Club, and Kensington Hotel Saipan. (MVA)

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