Marianas Visitors Authority board reinstates Taiwan office

MEETING: Marianas Visitors Authority board members Viola Alepuyo, Ivan Quichocho, Agida Quitugua and Thomas Liu attend a meeting on Tuesday, April 6. Bryan Manabat/For The Guam Daily Post

SAIPAN — The Marianas Visitors Authority's board of directors on Tuesday unanimously voted to reinstate its Taiwan office effective April 15.

The board also approved a policy mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for MVA employment.

Taiwan recently launched a travel bubble with Palau, which remains COVID-19 free. CNN reported that Taiwan is considering a similar bubble with Guam, which, as of Tuesday, had 7,825 officially reported cases of COVID-19 with 136 deaths, 28 cases in active isolation, and 7,661 not in active isolation.

Taiwan has reported 1,022 cases and 10 deaths while the CNMI has a total of 159 cases and two deaths since March 2020.

An update on a possible "travel bubble" for the CNMI was discussed by the board in an executive or closed-door session.

Monthly contract

Also on Tuesday, the MVA board approved a $2,000 monthly contract for its Taiwan representatives effective April 15, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2021.

Board members and MVA Managing Director Priscilla Iakopo likewise discussed the role of John Stewart's Sky Dive Saipan company in relation to MVA's marketing strategy in Taiwan.

Sky Dive Saipan proposes to be the marketing and coordinating representative for MVA in Taiwan, but Iakopo said according to MVA's legal counsel, this "conflicts" with the Taiwan office's scope of work.

Iakopo said the MVA legal counsel advises that a letter of support is appropriate for Sky Dive Saipan's effort, but there must be "clear language" specifying that there is "no contractual relationship" between MVA and Sky Dive Saipan.

MVA stopped funding its Taiwan office in April 2020 amid a global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccination policy

As for the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for MVA employees, Iakopo told the board that it is in line with the governor's pandemic directive, and mirrors the Commonwealth Ports Authority's COVID-19 vaccination policy.

MVA's vaccination policy was also reviewed by the Attorney General's Office, she said.

The MVA policy states that "employees who fail to comply with the requirements will be barred from entering the worksite and may be terminated if proof of vaccination is not provided."

MVA has 35 employees including those on Rota and Tinian.

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