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Last updateTue, 19 Dec 2017 12am

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    Monday, December 18, 2017-6:28:38P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Government officials, hotel, tourism stakeholders take part in Kensington anniversary celebration

GOVERNMENT officials along with hotel and tourism stakeholders gathered on Saturday night at Kensington Hotel Saipan to celebrate the first anniversary of the island’s first five-star hotel.

The celebration started with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the hotel’s Infinity Pool and Bar.

Senate Vice President Steve Mesngon, the acting governor, commended the Kensington for the hotel’s additional features and amenities, adding that he was impressed by its contributions to the local economy.

Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, for his part, noted the “remarkable accomplishments” of the hotel despite the challenges it faces on island.

The mayor said many of Kensington’s contributions focused on protecting the island’s very delicate environment, which, he added, is a step in the right direction to make sure that future generations will have a beautiful world to call home.

Moreover, “through its tireless and effective marking strategy, the Kensington Hotel puts Saipan front and center as a premier tourist destination,” Apatang said.

In an interview, Hotel Association of Northern Mariana Islands chair and Mariana Resort and Spa general manager Gloria Cavanagh said the Kensington will continue to thrive as one of the finest hotels in the Pacific.

“It’s wonderful for CNMI to have a five-star hotel that is newly renovated,” she added. “It is absolutely perfect for the CNMI, and it gives us another step up from what we were before.”

For his part, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said: “We are happy we have this kind of facility here in the Marianas, and we will continue to partner with the hotel in the many projects to promote” the islands.

In a separate interview, Matthew Park, chief executive officer and president of Micronesia Resort Inc., a subsidiary of E-Land, said by December or early next year, they may open a spa and expand their baby playground.

Matthew Park, chief executive officer and president of Micronesia Resort Inc., center, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Infinity Pool and Bar at the Kensington Hotel.  Contributed photo

In 2018, Park said E-Land Group will take over the management of the Pacific Islands Club.

They have also bought properties in Palau for future investment, he added.

House Floor Leader Glenn Maratita, in his remarks, said he is hoping the Kensington will also consider investing on Rota.

Mesngon noted that the Kensington conducted a recruitment effort on Rota and some island residents have been hired.

“I was really happy to hear that some residents were hired,” he added.

Park said they faced many challenges in their first year of operation, including delayed opening caused by Typhoon Soudelor.

During the early stage of operations, he added, they also found it hard to get qualified and experienced staff.

About 80 percent of its workforce had no experience when the hotel started its operations, he said.

But they have trained their workers and improved their skills, Park said.

Currently, 60 percent of their workforce are local residents, but they still need more workers.

“We can barely manage that problem, so we hope the CW issue is resolved. That would be wonderful for us,” he added.

Cavanagh said hotels and other businesses formed the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corporation last month to hire a consultant in Washington, D.C.

“We need somebody there on the ground 365 days a year pushing our cause because businesses in the CNMI will shut down if we don’t have access to labor,” she said.