This story discusses the soon-to-be-released economic study commissioned by the Pew Environment Group that was authored by University of Guam economist Dr. Tom Iverson.
Here is a press release:
******New Economic Report Shows Proposed Monument Could Generate $333 Million in Benefits for the Mariana Islands
Author Will Release Report in Saipan Next Week
SAIPAN, CNMI -- Angelo O'Connor Villagomez, Saipan coordinator for the Ocean Legacy Project of the Pew Environment Group has announced the release of preliminary data contained in the long-awaited study on - The Economic Impact of the Proposed Mariana Trench Marine Monument. The public draft of the study, conducted by University of Guam economist Dr. Tom Iverson will be released next week Dr. Iverson will be on Saipan the week of June 16 to present the preliminary results of the study. Events and times will be announced in advance.
Villagomez said, “Dr. Iverson is excited to share this encouraging economic information. The idea of a Mariana Monument has generated healthy public debate in the community, the Legislature and in the local newspapers. As more factual information has reached the public and government officials, the merits and potential of this marine monument are becoming much better understood. This additional economic data should help correct any erroneous information currently circulating in CNMI.”
David M. Sablan, President of Century Tours & Travel, noted that, “This is good news for the Commonwealth, and an important step forward for the long-term sustainability of our tourism industry. It provides additional proof of the value a Mariana Trench Monument would provide to our islands - 8,000 additional visitors and 400 new jobs will make a large impact. There’s no doubt in my mind that the fastest way to help improve our economy is to create additional reasons for Japanese and other visitors to continue to come here. There is ample evidence the world wide demand for ecotourism is growing, and businesses would love to have a National Monument designation to bring like-minded visitors from Japan and around the globe.”
Villagomez said. “It's unfortunate that some senior public officials have been so woefully misled about recent federal court decisions regarding CNMI's authority over the surrounding waters. Hopefully their uninformed statements will not allow federal officials to dismiss our legitimate concerns and needs and undercut a productive discussion with CNMI officials on the benefits a monument could provide.”
Many CNMI community groups and organizations are supporting the monument including the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, Beautify CNMI, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA), Friends of the Mariana Islands, Tao Tao Tano and Marianas Dive.______________________________________________
Highlights of the study on the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument (MTMNM) include:
-“...benefits to the CNMI would include, but not be limited to: 1) the annual federal commitment to the monument, as evidenced by other monuments and sanctuaries, 2) media attention that would help stimulate increases in visitor arrivals, 3) visits by research scientists and high-end tourists who might enter the monument waters for research and ecotourism, 4) NGO and federal funds that will be attracted to ‘piggyback’ on the monument designation, particularly in the areas of environmental education and discovery.”
-“...assuming federal funding within the bottom half of the 14 NOAA-administered sanctuary budgets together with nearly 8,000 in additional visitor arrivals, the MTMNM would generate in excess of $10 million in spending, over $14 million in sales (via the sales multiplier), almost $5 million in tax revenues and 400 jobs.”
- “...present values for the benefits in the area of $333 million and the costs, perhaps $33 million.”
- “The economic benefits to the CNMI have a wide range of possibilities and are dependent on the ability of the relevant institutions to make the most of the prospect. ...The ultimate economic impact to the CNMI would depend on the ability of these actors to support and leverage the opportunity.”
The same newspaper also carries a story on Saturday's Best of the Worst Dog Show. Oreo had his picture in the paper. Again. (Oreo and Kevin were on the front page of both daily newspapers yesterday).