ROTA HOTEL OPERATOR PROTESTS CHINA TRAVEL BAN

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By Jude O. Marfil

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Dec. 20) - A Rota resort executive has decried a United States Department of Defense order banning Chinese tourists from coming to the island.

Rota Resort and Country Club sales and marketing manager Jesse Rojas branded as "illogical" the decision to bar Chinese tourists from going to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas island because the latter might sneak into nearby Guam.

"I don’t see the logic of that directive. If (Chinese tourists) are bent on getting into Guam illegally, What could stop them? What difference does (banning) them make? They could always go through Saipan. Does that mean Chinese tourists will also be banned from Saipan?" Rojas told Variety in a telephone interview.

Rota Resort has been reeling from the waning numbers of guests booking at its facility.

In an earlier interview with Variety, the resort’s outgoing general manager Shigeru Fukuzawa admitted they have been suffering from losses especially since the September 11 terror attacks, which caused travellers’ loss of appetite for travel.

Fukuzawa said since 1989, Osaka-based Shirayama Corp. had invested over $100 million for the construction and development as well as operations of the resort.

"But the owners have not been making a profit. In fact, the resort has been suffering from a $900,000 loss annually," Fukuzawa said. "They tried to keep the business but they just feel tired already."

Starting January 1, Florida-based Buena Vista Hospitality Group will take over the management and operations of Rota Resort.

Rojas pointed out that banning tourists from Rota practically defeats the purpose of promoting the CNMI as an ideal destination for international travellers.

"Why does the government have to be selective?" Rojas pointed out.

Diplomatic sources said barring Chinese nationals from Rota will only unnecessarily strain relations between the Beijing and the CNMI, which could be exacerbated by Washington’s "support" of Taiwan’s pro-independence stance.

It can be noted that despite the huge numbers of Chinese nationals working in various garment factories here, Beijing has yet to put a consulate in the CNMI.

December 20, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

 

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