As Saipan and Tinian rise to their feet again following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yutu in the Marianas last month, the community is also stepping up make the islands’ affected scenic and historic sites accessible again to the public and to the expected return of tourists shortly.
The islands’ bustling tourism economy based on its tropical natural beauty is anticipated to resume with the re-opening of the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport for daytime flights only on Nov. 15, 2018.
While government resources are focused on more populated areas, local businesses like tour operator Saipan Adventure have taken the lead to clear roads to more remote locations that are the foundation of Saipan’s charm.
“Saipan is still beautiful,” said Saipan Adventure owner Mickey Kim. “At this time, everyone is having a hard time and many have lost much. The government’s main focus is to help the people, so we wanted to do give a little extra help by starting to clean Marpi.”
On Oct. 30, 2018, tour guides and other staff of Saipan Adventure took to the roads with chainsaws and machetes in hand to restore some of Saipan’s most popular scenic sites. First on the list was working with the Department of Lands and Natural Resources to clear access to and collect debris at award-winning dive site Grotto and other roads in Marpi. They also installed security tape around unsafe areas at the site. After several days’ work in the Marpi area, the team turned its attention to Forbidden Island, clearing the access road, re-installing signs, and now clearing the hiking trail.
“We are just so thankful to Saipan Adventure and all the other industry companies that are helping the government restore the islands to normalcy. There are really more than we can name, and many of them have staff either providing relief in the villages, collecting debris, and working on site restoration,” said Marianas Visitors Authority executive director Christopher A. Concepcion. “Our motto is ‘Tourism is Everybody’s Business,’ and through the outpouring of support we are seeing from the industry in this typhoon recovery, we see that in the Marianas community, ‘Everybody is Tourism’s Business’ too. We are definitely stronger together…that is really one of the characteristics of the Marianas that has shown through in this situation.”
The MVA also started clearing other tourist sites in Marpi last week. (MVA)