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ROTA, Northern Mariana Islands (January 5, 2000 – Saipan Tribune)---Organizers of a symposium on Heritage Eco-Tourism scheduled for next month hope to foster cooperation in preserving the Pacific’s fragile tourist destinations.

The event is scheduled for February 28 to March 3.

It will be hosted by the Rota Mayor's Office and is co-sponsored by the Historic Preservation Office, CNMI government, the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, the Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation, the U.S. National Park Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Pacific Asian Travel Association Foundation, and the U.S. Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The symposium is partially funded under the FY 2000 National Park Service Cultural Resources Training Initiative Grant.

One of the main objectives of this symposium is to bring together all members of the tourism industry, resource specialists, and the local community. These groups will present and discuss how to ensure resource protection and preservation, encourage and foster greater cooperation and coordination, enhance overall visitor experience, provide education, and promote economic growth in a responsible manner.

"There will always be development of cultural, natural, and recreational resources. It is the goal of this symposium to look at ways to guide the planning of resources development that are sensitive to the continued health and well being of these resources while providing a quality experience for our visitors," according to the organizers.

"Often times, cultural and recreation resources are thought of as separate from natural resources and vice versa. A fragmented approach results in competing interest without overall coordination and cooperation. An integrated approach to heritage and ecology tourism provides the best experience for the visitors, both residents and tourists, while educating the public and, at the same time, protecting our environment," organizers said.

The symposium will include presentations, discussions, site visits, assessments of sites, and the development of tourism plans.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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