22 Jul 2013
- By Junhan B. Todeno - email@example.com - Variety News Staff
NORTHERN Islands Mayor Tobias Aldan has assured coordinators of the cruise liner Silversea Expedition 2014 that its visit next year to the volcanic island of Pagan will be an “enriching, unforgettable and positive experience.”
He said his office has been communicating with Inchcape Shipping Services on Guam which will arrange the expedition.
Last year, Inchcape executives Ariel R. Dumapit and Matt Buenabajo presented the expedition’s itinerary to the Northern Frontier Summit on Saipan.
Aldan said they need to identify “local stakeholders and key players in the historic cruise” to Pagan, adding that his office would like to begin regular consultative conversations with Inchcape and its local partners in August or September, a year before the planned cruise.
“I would like to make certain that their visit to the Northern Islands becomes a regular part of their route in the Pacific,” he said.
Aldan had a meeting with Inchcape executives this month to discuss the Silversea Expedition Cruise Liner’s visit to the Northern Islands in September next year.
The original plan was for the Silversea to depart Japan and head down for a two-day stopover on Maug for underwater tours and then to Pagan for a natural history tour and sightseeing before proceeding to Saipan and Tinian.
The ship will also visit Guam and Yap before heading back to Japan.
Former Rep. William S. Torres, event coordinator of the First Northern Frontier Summit, said preparations are in place to receive the visitors who are attracted to the natural history and culture of Pagan.
“This tour is a break from traditional ones,” he added. “Guests on this vacation cruise have a genuine interest in learning about the areas they visit and getting a different perspective about each place. They expect to have experiences that they would otherwise not be able to have on a normal cruise arrangement.”
Torres said such high-end eco-tourism that the Northern Islands can offer should be a top priority for development.
He said they remain opposed to any development that ultimately ends up in environmental degradation, contamination, defacement and erosion, referring to the proposed military exercises on Pagan.
“The true intent and purpose of the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument must be protected, advanced, and a priority item in any decision-making matrix,” he said.