NOTICE | GCEA celebrates two years of improving life in the Marianas for all | Views

HÅFA Adai yan Tirow Wóómi! August 2022 marks the second full year of operation for the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers. The Council’s efforts throughout the year demonstrate the value of the private sector and our government working together to improve the quality of life for all residents.

The Council, under the leadership of Co-Chair Jerry Tan, has been instrumental in bridging the gap and incorporating the views of local businesses and organizations into community policies and activities. The Council has accomplished a great deal in two short years. One of GCEA’s greatest successes is the creation and growth of the Public-Private Partnership or PPP program, which models the spirit of a Marianne and neighbors helping neighbors. PPP partners have committed to adopting their sites for five years and have helped improve our public sites for everyone to enjoy. Join me in thanking them for another great year of service that benefits our entire community.

From resuming tourism to envisioning the Mariana Islands as a world-class destination, the Council has made significant progress in 2021 through the work of its committees.

For the first part of 2021, the Council has been working to prepare the CNMI for the return of tourism. The safe and successful resumption of tourism has been his top priority and I consider it a valuable achievement. Thanks to the South Korean travel bubble deal and the Tourism Recovery Investment Plan, or TRIP, the CNMI has received more than 7,000 tourists this year. As we anticipate the launch of United’s direct service between Saipan and Narita/Tokyo, Japan on September 1, I applaud the diligence of the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Tourism Recovery Task Force, the Governor’s Covid-19 Task Force and all those involved in this initiative.

In addition to the tourism recovery, the community was able to celebrate the start of our Covid-19 recovery by inviting our Pacific brothers and sisters to participate in the 2022 Pacific Northern Mariana Mini-Games. NMPMG was a resounding victory for our athletes and the CNMI. In a post-pandemic period in the Pacific, we have been able to demonstrate that the Marianas are ready to re-enter the tourist market. NMPMG has also become our first company in exploring strategies to develop sports tourism.

The Council’s long-term goal of transforming the Marianas into a world-class destination prompted the launch of the Marianas Village Pride campaign. MVP is designed to instill a sense of pride and belonging within the community. With that came five spin-off community programs to encourage widespread pride and participation. We saw the unveiling of our beautiful new village flags at NMPMG, and we continue to reap the benefits of the Adopt-A-Median program. You can count on the GCEA program to fulfill its mission: to improve the quality of life in the Marianas.

The road to healing

We have accomplished so much over the past two years and are excited about what lies ahead. The Council’s recent programme, the Friends of Business Summit, has been in the works for a few months. GCEA and its partners CNMI Small Business Development Center Network and Saipan Chamber of Commerce invite business owners and managers to discuss the challenges of starting and sustaining a business in CNMI . Partners will identify appropriate solutions and work with local agencies to improve efficiency through e-government platforms. We look forward to expanding this effort by launching the Marianas Business Pride program this month.

I invite all small business owners/managers to join us at the Friends of Business Summit on August 10, 2022, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Saipan World Resort, Royal Taga Ballroom. We want as many companies as possible to attend and share their opinions with us, so that we can prioritize initiatives that will positively meet their needs.

For our students, the Council is excited to launch the Marianas School Pride program for elementary, middle and high school students in public and private schools. Our Marianas Village Pride campaign has been successful and we know we can inspire our students to take care of their schools and villages. Instilling pride in our young people is a lesson that will reap exponential benefits in their lives.

Looking ahead, we must build on the successes we have achieved during the pandemic, such as working towards economic diversification by inviting new, innovative industries to establish a presence at CNMI.

The Council also aims to better support healthier lifestyles for all who inhabit the Marianas. We see a new role for government in the lives of our people by encouraging healthy living, maintaining community facilities and upgrading our infrastructure to make life easier.

All the achievements of the previous year are the result of the extraordinary efforts of the CNMI to protect its people from the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapid access to vaccinations and the measures implemented have allowed the CNMI to chart a course towards recovery. Together we can!

For more information on GCEA programs, visit cnmieconomy.com, engage with the council on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at gceacnmi@gmail.com/.

Ralph DLG Torres is the ninth Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers.

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