Sunday, October 08, 2006

The 3/11 Rule

Imagine that you are visiting the CNMI for the first time. Imagine you spent several thousands dollars on airfare, hotel, and transportation to bring your family here. After spending a particularly beautiful day at Managaha you decide to venture outside of your hotel to have your family experience some of the local cuisine. As you are walking through the streets of Garapan, trying to decide on a restaurant, you get a little thirsty. You see a public water fountain, walk over to it, put your head into it, and see this:

When you get home to Japan, Korea, China, Russia or wherever it is that you are pretending you are from, you are going to tell 3 people about your great experience at Managaha and then you are going to tell 11 people about the public water fountain filled with chewed gum, cigarette butts, and litter.

When people have a good experience, on average, they tell 3 people about it. When they have a bad experience, on average, they tell 11. That is the basis for the 3/11 rule. Think about the last bad experience you had. How many people did you tell? Chances are that you told even more than 11 people.

And that is what we have to deal with in the tourist industry on Saipan and in all of the CNMI. Tourism is everybody's business. Even if only 3% of our tourists are going home saying that they were unsatisfied with their experience in the CNMI (meaning that 97% were satisfied), that is still over 15,000 people that we have disappointed.

We can't have that many people being unsatisfied if we are going to compete with other tourist destinations like Guam, Palau, Hawaii, Australia, Bali, and Disneyland.

We need to do everything we can to ensure that our tourists have a great experience. One way to do that is to ensure that we have a clean and pristine island, which is just one of the reasons why we cleaned up the Garapan Tourist District this morning.

Here are a few pictures:

Don't be a butt flicker. Public Auditor Mike Sablan shows off some of the litter he found on the Paseo de Marianas. We picked up thousands of cigarette butts this morning. Throwing a cigarette butt on the ground is a violation of Public Law 6-37. If one of the litter officers catches you littering, you will be fined a minimum of $200.

Trim those trees! Representative Waki and his staff led a team of tree trimmers this morning. They trimmed the trees along Coral Avenue.

Have you seen my shoes? Beautify CNMI!'s smallest volunteer (he's only 4 years old!) lost his zorries this morning. If you find a pair of children's zorries in Garapan, please report them to Beautify CNMI!

Free Concert! One of the many benefits of being a Beautify CNMI! volunteer is watching these boys line up and sing every once in a while.

Group photo. The people in the photo above picked up enough litter to fill the bags in the photo below:

I find it amazing that we were able to pick up this much litter. These bags are filled with cigarette butts, soda cans, candy wrappers, and other small pieces of litter. We weren't picking up big items. There were no toilets, sinks, or washing machines (those get dumped on the beach). Just small pieces of litter. Lots and lots of small pieces of litter.

Thank you to the volunteers from Kinpachi Restaurant, MOVER, Marianas RC&D, Rep. Kaipat's Office, Rep. Waki's Office, and Public Auditor Mike Sablan, Juanita Fajardo, and thier kids Zach and Adam! Great job today!

Oh yeah, did I mention that it was raining all morning? Rain or shine, baby, rain or shine (except for last Sunday).

Sunday Beach Baggers. After the Garapan Community Cleanup, some of the new Litter Control Officers and a few volunteers from the community visited families barbequing along the beach. They handed out garbage bags to the people barbequing and told them about the new Litter Control Officers.

October is Anti-Litter Education Month. We are working with our partners to do everything we can to let the public know about the need to control the litter on our islands. We'll be going out every Sunday this month to visit with beach side barbequers. We want them to know not to litter and to know that Zero Tolerance Month kicks off on November 1st...that's when we stop being nice.

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