(MVA) — Under the theme “Live Your Culture, Love All Cultures,” approximately 250 students gathered for the annual Marianas Tourism Education Council Tourism Summit on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
Keynote speaker Andrew Jones, guardian of Sanctuary Resorts and the immediate past chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association, shared his experience creating responsible and sustainable tourism projects where people can balance their body, mind and spirit in an environmentally friendly space. Students expressed particular interest in his young life learning the art of hospitality while working in his family’s inn and his recent resort development in Cebu, one of only a few places in the world where divers can dive face to face with thresher sharks.
Gerard van Gils, 2017 CNMI Teacher of the Year and 2017 Pacific Educator of the Year, brought both laughter and tears to the audience as he shared his personal story in challenging students to “love all” by choosing not to bully.
Pacific Development Inc. co-owner and managing director Gordon Marciano dialogued with students on the meaning of culture, described various ways The Marianas now shares its culture with the world, and encouraged students to be patient of cultural differences with others.
Former My WAVE Club member and Hyatt Regency Saipan assistant manager of events Kovanni Cabrera recounted his story about getting a taste of the tourism and hospitality industry at a very young age.
“I learned about other cultures, such as the Japanese culture, while I was a member of the My WAVE Club,” said Cabrera. “I also participated in a lot of beach clean-ups, because we were taught that tourists will not want to visit a dirty destination.”
Providing hands-on demonstrations at breakout sessions at the summit were the cultural communities of the Federated States of Micronesia; Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji; and Chamorro. Other exhibitors are the Marianas Visitors Authority, Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance, Division of Coastal Resources Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Northern Marianas Trades Institute, and the Northern Marianas Museum of History & Culture.
“This year’s MTEC Tourism Summit was another resounding success, thanks to the strong support of our sponsors, the CNMI Public School System, our speakers and exhibitors, and our organizing committee and Board. We thank everyone for their partnership in this educational effort,” said MTEC Chairwoman Vicky Benavente. “By the end of the day, when we asked the students who was interested in working in the tourism industry in the future, almost all of them raised their hands. In that sense, we accomplished our goal of getting them excited about tourism, and in this case, especially cultural tourism.”
The summit was also sponsored by T Galleria, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Kanoa Resort, and the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.
MTEC was formed in 2002 to heighten the community’s awareness of the importance of tourism to the well-being of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands. MTEC’s stated mission is three-fold: to foster community understanding and support of the visitor industry; educate the general public, especially school students, about the value, social benefits, and economic contributions made to the community by the visitor industry; and to instill, improve and promote the “Hafa Adai-Tirow” hospitality spirit throughout the island community.
Source: Google News : http://www.mvariety.com/special-features/my-marianas/102084-my-wave-clubs-show-enthusiasm-for-sharing-culture