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Mar 10, 2008

Oh Brother Where Art Thou

Read this letter to the editor by business tycoon Anthony Pelligrino where he is questioning where have all the good old days gone. He is brought down to the memory lane bringing up the past when the CNMI used to be in that golden era. I believe he has posted some questions for the community to ponder on.
Sometimes I get the feeling that our feet are walking forward but our heads are screwed on backward. We yearn for 1986 through 1997-the “golden years.” During this period everybody and everything was on a roll making money and tourists were flooding into the CNMI. Land was being leased at fabulous prices. New hotels and other attractions were filling the skyline of Saipan. We actually reached over 736,000 guests in 1996. Ah, yes, those were the good old days. How we wish they would come back. Sigh! Sigh! But..

Today the picture has turned quite bleak. Government laments that revenue is way below previous years. Tourists are not flocking here as previously. No new hotels are piercing the skyline. Investors have become endangered species. Garment factories are obsolete. Indigenous people are packing up and flying off to happier hunting grounds. How could this have happened? After all, what did we do to scare them off? And, of course, the usual question: Who is to blame? It's not our fault. Right?
He is asking who is to blame here....


lil_hammerhead said...

I think our current situation is due to poor planning, well.. no planning, and to greed and corruption.

We had over 700,000 tourists in 1996, not necessarily because of a whole lot our government did. How many of those visitors returned? MVA statistics always indicated.. almost none.

We were the cheap place to visit for alot of young and newlywed Japanese, who weren't wealthy, but were part of a culture of wealth and in particular, flaunting wealth. Those that couldn't afford to travel the world.. came here.

The better question is.. "what did we really do to bring those travelers here?" I'd say, outside of MVB promotions.. not a whole lot.

We didn't come close to fully developing tourist attractions. We don't have a number of basic things you'd expect to see as a tourist visiting a tropical island. An aquarium or mariculture center? Thatched houses lining the island? A Marianas cultural center? Clearly marked safe hiking trails? Etc. Etc. Almost nothing in this regard was done. The same stuff that was here before the boom, was all that was here during it.

Almost nothing was done to provide training in the industry. Instead of developing our local citizenry.. our feeble government permitted foreign labor paid as cheaply as possible.

Then came the garment industry. Instead of setting aside an area for factories, away from the main roads tourists might travel on.. they were permitted to set up shop on main roads, destroying the beauty of the areas they were located at. Again, poor planning, greed and corruption, allowed the cheap labor method of operation to develop even further.

Our tourism markets were limited to Japan and a small percentage of Koreans. Almost no effort was made to diversify these markets.

Our "tourism industry" consisted of a couple large pseudo-monopolistic luxury businesses, and an all-around system of business that gouged tourists. Taxis, beach rentals, etc. were priced outrageously.

So the question is what did we do to plan long-term and plan for worst case scenarios? Nothing.

The worst case scenario happened. Continental opened their hub in Guam and little by little cut off direct flights to Saipan. KAL stopped flying and the Koreans stopped coming. The Japanese economy tanked. The garments started pulling out.

We should have had strong monopoly regulations in place. We should have focused on training in the tourism industry for our citizens. We should have had gouging and a variety of price regulations in place. We should have worked overtime to facilitate new airlines. We should have diversified our visitor market. We should have developed our tourism infrastructure. On and on and on.

Who is to blame? Well, there are alot of politicians and directors and secretaries we can all put these things on. In the end.. we are to blame. We kept electing these people. We were as short-sighted as our politicians were. We are still very short-sighted.

Every time you here a call to cut education funds, or keep the minimum wage low, or provide funding for some goofy office instead of the development of a tourist-related activity or facility.. you understand why we are in the situation we are currently in. Many are still very very short sighted.

Anonymous said...

Blame the people who elect the same fucking retards in to office. Electing senadot crisostomo, the poker king, was horrible. Re-electing him proved our people deserve the shitty ass life they voted for. Stupid stupid stupid. Sorry but the only good leader we have is tina sablan and yet she is getting slammed like hell for not providing tents and tables. How fucked up is that? Our islands will never improve until our people improve. Period.

fuck fitial said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
glend558 said...

Whos to blame? Whos here? Get it?

Saipan Middle Road said...

Sorry we had to delete a comment. We don't use the "F" word here...but here's the comment:

"Stupid is as stoooopid does. We are to blame for not doing jack about our problems. Saipan is &^%$ thanks to greedy ^&^%$ like uncle ben fitial tan, the garment whore. $&*%$ saipan. I'm moving back to cali."

Anonymous said...

You don't use the f word? You guys are a bunch of pussies. Middle road sux. I'm going to lil hammerhead. Pussy!

Saipan Middle Road said...

;-) luv u

Anonymous said...

Middle road is now known as hershey highway.

Anonymous said...

;-) love them choco

lil_hammerhead said...

Because it is SWEEEEEEEET! ;}

Anonymous said...

The mess here is due to 2 problems:

1. The textile industry flooding the NMI with workers to drive the price of labor back into the 19th century while our long befuddled lawmakers took handouts and said nothing.

2. Lack of support from the US

Chamberonomics or not

saipanboonieman said...

contract workers

Translate: saipanmiddleroad.blogspot.com


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