CNMI Bids For 2021 Pacific Mini Games

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Hopes for influx of sports tourism

By Thomas Johnson

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Business Journal, June 1, 2014) – If all goes well, the NMI could be enjoying an influx of sports tourism income in the years to come. According to Michael White, chairman of the Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association, the association has made a bid for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games to be hosted in the NMI. White said the association estimates that the games would have an economic impact somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million to $15 million, which is expected to come primarily from international contingents and media coverage of the Pacific region.

"The games will bring 1,200 to 1,500 athletes, coaches and officials to the commonwealth, as well as several hundred more fans, friends and family members," White said. "Pacific-wide, media coverage will also have a positive effect on our image as an international destination."

Andrew Minogue, executive director of the Pacific Games Council, addressed the Saipan Chamber of Commerce during its May 7 meeting in an effort to shore up support for the Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association in its bid to have the event hosted in the NMI. However, White is confident that the NMI will be the host of the 2021 games, as the bidding has been closed, and NMASA is the only bidder to date.

"All of our sports facilities are in place and ready to go. The only major improvements we will need to implement are the acquisition of sufficient bathroom facilities - toilets, showers and sinks - and bunk beds and mattresses for our games athletes' villages," White said.

White also said that he hopes the games will mark the first step of a journey to making sports tourism viable in the future as a boon to the NMI's economy and that he and the association will be working toward making that future a reality.

"We have great sports facilities here, and we have our eyes set on a number of sports events, large and small, over the next seven years," he said. "We hope to show the Pacific, and the world, that the Northern Marianas are a great place to play and stay."

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