Selling the CNMI as a multi-island destination
Bea Cabrera at the Saipan Tribune reports on a presentation from Darlene Zhai at the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors general membership meeting. The author of the Sustainable Tourism Development Study basically espoused that the CNMI has the capacity to compete with other top-level destinations, should it adopt the right strategy.
Zhai, an expert on destination tourism planning and sustainable development, is no stranger to the CNMI as she has traveled around the islands several times and the experience has helped her come up with a plan on how to repackage CNMI into a multi-island destination.
“All the islands in the CNMI have pristine environment and untouched beauty that caters to a larger, unique and upworthy experiences that could elevate its position as a multi-island destination,” she said.
According to her, it is important to recognize that Saipan is the hub of the Marianas as it has the largest tourism activities and attractions. “In order for the Marianas to succeed as a multi-island destination, it is imperative that Saipan’s existing facilities undergo extensive revitalization. …Two hindering factors are the accommodation imagery (old facilities and hotels) and limited global brand representation,” Zhai said.
“Competing destinations like Guam and Hawaii also have hotels, many of them international brands. They were developed in the ’70s and ’80s but they have undergone numerous rounds of renovations throughout the years to remain competitive and to make sure that their revenue generating capabilities are maximized. Although facilities are old on Saipan, they are located in a great shoreline size, which helps to get good reviews online ,” Zhai said.
With incoming funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, there is an opportunity for the US territory to seize on this opportunity and make a real difference.