More than sun and sand, the CNMI is a four-in-one destination

Saipan-- Since its formation last year, the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors has been focused on rebranding the CNMI into a world-class destination.

At the general membership meeting held Wednesday, GCEA was presented with ways and ideas on how to rebuild CNMI into a multi-island integrated destination to target not only its current tourism base from Asia, but also global travelers.

The presentation was led by Darlena Zhai, a tourism expert who has been involved in over 300 tourism and hospitality projects across Asia, Pacific Islands, the Caribbean and Africa.

She has been to the islands of the CNMI several times and her experience makes for a good foundation to help the islands maximize their historical significance and natural beauty.

She dissected the three islands, Saipan, Tinian and Rota, pointing out their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Saipan, for example, has the potential to attract free independent travelers. Such an appeal opens opportunities for international hotel brands to come in by giving attractive lease agreements. And with new job opportunities, the younger travelers would not want to leave to find other opportunities in the mainland.

“We need to revitalize Saipan’s image to achieve vibrancy and quality by utilization of key natural and cultural resources, showcase the beauty and heritage of the Marianas," Zhai said.