While it’s the only remaining company that responded to a request for proposals to operate the Managaha exclusive concession area, U-TOP (Saipan) Inc. is not ready yet to comment on upcoming negotiations with the Department of Public Lands.
U-TOP, a company with links to one of the largest outbound tour and travel operators in Hong Kong, was one of two companies that responded to the June 2018 request for proposals from DPL to operate the Managaha exclusive concession area.
Tasi Tours, which has managed concession services for over 20 years, did not submit a proposal.
Tasi Tours has been operating on a month-to-month basis since August 2016, when its original lease expired.
A U-TOP spokesman said the company will soon share more details about its plans to work with DPL and the outgoing concessionaire.
Managaha is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Marianas, known for its crystal-clear waters and white sand. The island saw close to 300,000 visitors in 2013 alone.
Under the concession agreement, DPL grants the master concessionaire the right, privilege, and duty to operate and maintain a vibrant exclusive concession. The agreement also calls for upgrades on facilities and improvement to the feel of the island. It also requires lifeguard coverage throughout the island. Currently, lifeguards monitor only one area of the island—the designated swim zone.
Over the past 18 months, U-TOP has worked with community organizations to map out specific activities aimed at enhancing the cultural and historical aspects of Managaha and, at the same time, increase environmental measures throughout the concession operations.
To that end, U-TOP and partners are in the process of executing a memorandum of understanding that will assist in defining supportive and mutually beneficial roles of all parties.
According to U-TOP, “Our proposal to DPL outlined our intent to engage with community partners to promote, preserve and protect Managaha, as we recognize the island’s significance not only in economic terms for the CNMI, but environmentally, culturally and historically for future generations. We respect that and are excited to embark on a multi-faceted community partnership, and look forward to a final favorable response from the CNMI government to the agreement.” (PR)