Businessman and owner of White Coconut Computer Services Bud White said it should go without saying restrooms are one of the most important facilities that should be in any tourist area but this is one aspect that seems neglected, especially in the historical sites in Marpi.

White pointed for example the Last Command Post in Marpi, Suicide Cliff and the Bird Island Sanctuary which gets a share of busloads of tourists every single day.

“When visitors are in the area and they need to use the restrooms, where will they go? Do they have to hold it until they get back to their hotels?

This is a state that the tourism stakeholders failed to look into,” White said.

He stressed that Suicide Cliff for example is located up at the highest point in Marpi, too far from the nearest restroom facility which is at Banzai Cliff or at the Grotto.

White added that the restroom facility on Bird Island is far from ideal.

He said that he doesn’t think anybody will ever dare go inside to use the small outhouse built by the road at the Bird Island Sanctuary.

“It looks uninviting enough with the tall bushes around it almost covering the small outhouse,” he said.

The government, he said, or whoever is in charge of it, could erect water catchments like the ones at Banzai Cliff, the Grotto at the other popular sites like the Last Command Post, Suicide Cliff and  Bird Island.

“When these tourists go home to their respective countries, what do you expect them to say about the CNMI? As I always say, word of mouth is one of the best methods to advertise but how do we entice more people to come and view the historical places here when visitors hesitate to come back?” White said.

White said that the government and the Marianas Visitors Authority is spending millions of dollars each year advertising the CNMI and enticing tourists from all over the world to come to this “paradise of an island in the Pacific” but failed to spend for improvements and install much needed facilities that could help make the visits of tourists more pleasant.

“The CNMI relies mainly on tourism as the only remaining industry but what will happen to it if nobody will take care of the prime needs that boost tourism? he said.

Lost walkway

White also pointed out the neglected walkway from the Lasts Command Post that goes all the way up to  Suicide Cliff.

He said that the government spent thousands of dollars on this stretch of walkway for joggers and runners to use, but if anyone were to drive up to Marpi, they can see its present state.

“The walkway is almost gone, lost beneath crawling vines and bushes that would have taken just a few hours to clean up,” White said.

He also pointed out that a few miles down from Suicide Cliff, a portion of the walkway has collapsed where the soil has eroded, posing more danger to runners and cyclists.

White said that he hikes up to Marpi regularly and sees that cyclists and runners use the main road.

“They cannot use the walkway that is not there anymore,” he said. This, he added, is another aspect that the government should look into.

“They poured money into the project and now it is being neglected. If the walkway is repaired and maintained, this could be an added attraction for tourists that residents can also continue to use,” White said.

“Now, everybody is wondering why the figures for tourist arrivals continue to decline. The problem does not lie solely with the global economic situation. The government needs to inspect what is internally wrong and make necessary moves to install improvements where it is needed,” he said.{jcomments off}

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