280 students participate in tourism summit

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THE Marianas Tourism Education Council on Thursday hosted the 2020 Tourism Summit at Fiesta Resort & Spa that was attended by 280 students from 14 public schools.

In an interview, MTEC chairwoman Vicky Benavente said the annual summit aims to encourage the involvement of students in the islands’ only industry — tourism.

“We want the children to understand their [role] in taking care of our islands,” she added. “These kids are learning about the importance of cleanup and beautification activities, and a friendly attitude toward tourists.”

This year’s summit focused on “Volun-Tourism: Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow.” The guest speakers were American Red Cross-NMI chapter executive director John Hirsh, disaster program manager JD Tenorio, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance executive director Roberta Guerrero, Public School System Teacher of the Year Victor Cabrera, and Franco Santos of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce.

The Marianas Tourism Education Council hosted the 2020 Tourism Summit for 280 students from 14 public schools at Fiesta Resort & Spa on Thursday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

They discussed about the importance of volunteerism in the community and how it can affect the tourism industry.

Attending the summit were the student members of the MY WAVE — Marianas Youth Welcome All Visitors Enthusiastically — clubs at Hopwood Middle School, Oleai Elementary School, William S. Reyes Elementary School, Kagman Elementary School, Chacha Oceanview Middle School, Kagman High School, Koblerville Elementary School, San Vicente Elementary School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School, Garapan Elementary School, Tanapag Middle School, Dandan Middle School, Saipan Southern High School, and Da’ok Academy.

Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo commended MTEC for continuously educating the students about tourism and the things that can help the tourism industry thrive.

SSHS MY WAVE Club vice president Richard Baleares said MTEC, which was founded in 2002, helps make the youth understand that “tourism is everyone’s business and is the backbone of the CNMI’s economy.”

He said the summit participants, “when they join the workforce, will hopefully consider the hospitality industry — they already have the mindset that we must welcome our visitors enthusiastically and that tourism helps our economy.”


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