EDA: $21.2 Million Invested to Support Growth of Tourism Sector in the Northern Mariana Islands

Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $21.2 million grant to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to support growth of the region’s tourism economy. This EDA grant is expected to create 480 jobs.

“The travel and tourism industry is vital to America’s economic recovery and the Biden Administration is working round the clock to support its growth and success,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The infrastructure funded with this investment will support the Northern Mariana Islands as it prepares to host the 2021 Pacific Mini Games, as well as other events in the years ahead.”

“The 2018 impact of Super Typhoon Yutu was devastating to the economy of the Northern Mariana Islands,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will support the Commonwealth’s ongoing recovery by providing resources needed to complete the redevelopment of the Oleai Sports Complex, generating investment, creating job opportunities and revitalizing the tourism industry.”

“We are tremendously grateful to the EDA as this funding assistance my administration applied for will provide for a state-of-the-art sports complex and a cultural events site and will greatly benefit our local athletes as we position the CNMI to grow our sports tourism and cultural tourism industries,” said Governor Ralph DLG. Torres. “The sports complex, which will be one of the most advanced in the region, will make the CNMI a highly-attractive training destination for our tourism industry and allow for the hosting of large-scale regional sport events. The cultural event site will be a dedicated place for an annual calendar of local, regional, and international cultural and arts events within the Pacific, as well as a venue to foster entrepreneurial activities in the arts and cultural sector. Most importantly, it will be a place on the central part of our island to encourage everyone in our community to get fit and live a healthy lifestyle.

This award is the culmination of nearly a year and a half of work by my administration since Super Typhoon Yutu. I extend a sincere thanks to my staff from the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and Office of Planning and Development, for taking the lead on this, and to the great EDA staff who provided important technical assistance along the way. With this award, we are positioned to build back an important part of our island community and make it better than it has ever been before.”

“Tourism is the primary economic activity in the Marianas, but tourism can take many forms,” said Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. “Today’s grant to build a sport and cultural center will help us diversify the kinds of visitors we can attract to the Marianas and help us offer more diverse experiences for visitors to our islands. The new complex will, also, give our own residents new opportunities to stay fit and be competitive.”

This project is funded by the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116-20) (PDF), which provided EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) Program funds for disaster relief and recovery for areas affected by Hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Lane, Typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, and other major natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2018, and tornadoes and floods occurring in calendar year 2019, under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental webpage for more information.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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