CNMI’s eco-tourism sites highlighted

PRISTINE beaches, historical sites, underwater wonders—these and more sum up the CNMI islands which lures hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world each year.

The CNMI is home to thousands of artifacts and relics found in World War 2 sites scattered across Saipan, Tinian and Rota. It has places that played a historical significance such as the Banzai Cliff, interesting bits and pieces of ancient history such as the Petroglyph found in the Kalabera Cave in Marpi, spectacular sites such as the Grotto, Bird Island, Managaha Island, white sand beaches for state recreation, and other sites ideal for bird watching, plant watching, and the most ideal sites to watch romantic, serene sunsets.

Honolulu-based Marine Science & Policy Advisor Dr. Stacey A. Tighe who conducted a brief lecture at American Memorial Park Visitors Center on Wednesday said that the CNMI is rich in natural beauty, with different kinds of attractions such as the mysterious ancient and current culture, recent history that is unique and relevant to many, scenic views and locations, and unique ecosystems.

Ecotourism, according to Tighe, means responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.

It involves the participation of the local people, particularly in ownership and business opportunities that abound in the islands.

Tighe highlighted the main scenic sites that continue to attract tourists to the CNMI in her presentation. She cited for example the beauty of the Northern Islands and the hardship involved in getting there that adds to the mystery and the value of the place for tourism.

“The CNMI can tap on these prospects to bring in more tourists but still maintain best practices in ecotourism,” she said.

From the cultural side, Tighe cited low impact arts and crafts, local attractions such as the zoo, annual celebrations such as the Flame Tree Arts Festival, and events where tourists can witness and learn cultural dances.

When people go for vacations, they want to see attractions that are different, unique and are not in their places of origin.

Residents in the CNMI should not take the place for granted because so many people would be willing to give much “just to have what we have here.”

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