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    Friday, October 19, 2018-4:11:42P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Cinta Kaipat: NMI must be promoted as a safe destination

FORMER Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat said the CNMI must be promoted as a safe destination so that tourists will be encouraged to come back.

Kaipat, who was appointed by Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres to be a member of the Marianas Visitors Authority board, said she will work with its members and contribute her skills and expertise to further enhance the islands’ natural beauty.

On Thursday, Kaipat appeared before the Senate Committee on Executive Appointments and Government Investigations headed by Sen. Frank Cruz.

The Senate chamber was filled with her relatives, friends and other community members who expressed support for her nomination.

Senate confirmation hearing.  CNMI officials and community members fill the Senate gallery and lobby to show support, Thursday, for former Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat who was nominated to the Marianas Visitors Authority board.Senate confirmation hearing. CNMI officials and community members fill the Senate gallery and lobby to show support, Thursday, for former Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat who was nominated to the Marianas Visitors Authority board.

Sen. Sixto Igisomar asked Kaipat to help showcase Chamorro and Carolinian cultures, languages and food. “It’s what is missing right now,” he said.

Sen. Justo Quitugua agreed.  “They came to see us, to hear our language, to see our culture and to taste our food. They did not come here for a five-star hotel or a Japanese or a Chinese restaurant. They already have such things back home. They came to see us, who we are, and what we do here. Let us showcase that. Let us promote that in the hotels, in the restaurants. We need to have more local shops that promote local products, arts, crafts and local food,” Quitugua said.

In an interview, Kaipat said the tourism industry can still be improved.

Former Rep. Cinta Kaipat poses with friends, supporters and senators after the Senate public hearing on her nomination as a member of the Marianas Visitors Authority board, Thursday.  Photos by Cherrie Anne E. VillahermosaFormer Rep. Cinta Kaipat poses with friends, supporters and senators after the Senate public hearing on her nomination as a member of the Marianas Visitors Authority board, Thursday. Photos by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

For example, “we need to make sure we provide a safe destination for our tourists when they come here. We also need to make sure we offer unique cultural experiences. We need to enhance our presence — show them our warmth and hospitality, give them the best of who we are, show them our hearts, our arts, music and food. We must also protect our environment so we can offer a healthy and clean environment to our visitors. We must have clean coral, clean beaches and a clean ocean. We must develop the CNMI as a whole and not just focus on one area or portion.”

In addition, Kaipat said the MVA board needs to work with tour operators to educate visitors about the need to respect the environment and the culture of the CNMI.

“There are many other issues that we need to address like the airlines, protecting our environment and culture and not compromising them in our quest for development. We don’t need finger-pointing. What we need is finding solutions together, and working together to find the best solutions. We also need to recognize the value of our local artists. I will do my best to serve the community and to encourage our artists to showcase their talents and their work.”

Among those who expressed support for her appointment were Rep. Angel Demapan, MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman, John Gonzales, former Sen. Pete Reyes, Carmen Sablan, Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, Brad Ruszala, Laurie Peterka, Gloria Hunter, Nola Hix and Thomas Cabrera.