TOGETHER, WE CAN
Our friends at the Marianas Visitors Authority launched the Hafa Adai & Tirow Pledge and are taking the right steps to ensure that we continue to provide authentic Marianas experiences for our visitors. Proposed by the Saipan Chamber of Commerce through its president, Joe Guerrero, the Hafa Adai & Tirow Pledge calls for companies, organizations, and individuals to commit to promoting and preserving our local culture, traditions, and values through their day-to-day operations. It also encourages us to live the values of our culture daily and to treat each other and our visitors with the kindness, respect, and hospitality that we are known for.
Using simple Hafa Adai and Tirow greetings in written and oral communications is a great start. Businesses are also encouraged to utilize the Chamorro and Carolinian languages in their signs and advertisements. The pledge also encourages the perpetuation of the local arts. Playing cultural music and displaying local artwork in public places is part of the pledge too.
In the future, we will have more opportunities to highlight local products, artworks, food, music, and dance. The Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded the Marianas with a $21.2 million grant for cultural and sports tourism projects. A dedicated cultural facility will be built across the Oleai Sports Complex. We will be able to proudly display what makes us unique as a people, which is a unique value proposition that we offer our visitors.
While we work on promoting our culture and traditions, it is equally important to practice the values that make us a mindful and responsible Marianas. Last weekend, the Division of Coastal Resources Management held the Saipan Ocean Fair, raising awareness of the importance of taking better care of the oceans. Responsible stewardship of our islands, natural resources, and the ocean is a shared vision of the Hafa Adai & Tirow Pledge. It is also one that the GCEA firmly stands behind.
Studies show that cultural and eco-tourism will be critical components in bringing the tourism industry back to life across the globe. An article published on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s website noted the emergence of a “new and more environmentally and socially conscious global travel market” from the pandemic. Transforming our parks and village facilities has been the smartest investment we’ve made in our home and tourism industry.
The Hafa Adai & Tirow Pledge is catching on, and our residents are joining this important movement. This past week, MVA held its first pledge on Tinian with several business owners signing up for the campaign. We encourage more groups and individuals on all the islands to take the pledge.
This campaign will be crucial to our efforts to promote the Marianas as a sustainably developed multi-island destination with a unique and rich culture. We envision our islands as a destination that offers fun, quality getaways to responsible travelers looking to explore and commune with nature and learn from our culture and traditions. This will help bring in higher tourism revenue while protecting our environment and focusing on providing a better quality of life for residents. Together we can ensure that our islands, culture and traditions are preserved and generously shared for generations to come.
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Sablan is vice president of Triple J Enterprises, Inc. and chairperson of the Domestic Policy and Recovery Committee of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. As an advisory council for Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, the GCEA’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Marianas for all residents.