Led by the CEO Mr. Francis Domnick, the Office of Commerce, Investment & Tourism (OCIT), visited Kwajalein Atoll on June 5-9, 2021 to promote local domestic destinations and activities. In light of COVID-19 travel restrictions, the OCIT team noted a lot of misconceptions surrounding domestic tourism. As such, they partnered with Air Marshall Islands to develop discounted domestic travel packages for travel between Majuro and Kwajalein.
OCIT coordinated with the RMI Consulate on Kwajalein to organize targeted activities such as public presentations, a promotional booklet containing discounted hotel rates, information on activities such as game fishing, neighboring island getaways, calendar of events and flight information.
The CEO, Tourism Manager and Miss Marshall Islands also used the opportunity to visit Irojlaplap and Senator Michael Kabua and Mayor Hirata Kabua on Ebeye. These visits have resulted in planning for a night market in Ebeye, which the Tourism Unit is currently working towards.
Made possible through the collaborative efforts of the OCIT, Ministry of Natural Resources & Commerce- Trade Division, the Night Market Pilot Project was launched in December 2020 and remains an on-going activity. The initiative was developed in response to the hardships created by the pandemic. It was envisaged that the night market would provide a platform for small business communities and the informal sector to showcase and sell products through the community event.
A total of forty vendors registered for the Summer Night Market in Majuro, 16 of which were from neighboring islands. Sponsorship was organized for neighboring-island participants, including inter – island freight for their products. OCIT also worked with partner organizations to organize similar events such as the Sons and Daughters of Rearlaplap Arno (SADORA) showcasing market day on August 6th and the Marshall Islands Resort market day on August 13th.
The Night Market concept is an important effort to help entrepreneurs and the informal sector at this time of economic recession due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through this initiative, OCIT has been able to stimulate economic activity and raise awareness on local artisans, handicrafts and products. Due to its success, the night markets will become a regular feature on OCIT’s calendar of events.
The Taste of the Marshall Islands (TOTMI) was designed to complement the annual Billfish Tournament, whereby the fish caught during the tournament is used to prepare and showcase local sashimi dishes. Initiated in October 2020, the competition is set to become a regular highlight running alongside the Billfish Tournament. The competition was hosted by Miss Marshall Islands and prizes were awarded as follows:
1st Place: Elena Yu (Taiwan)
2nd Place: Brandon Hawley (Majuro, RMI)
3rd Place: Hiro Ueda (Japan)
Image Caption: A stall of decorative items from the RMI Night Market
Image Credit: RMI Office of Commerce, Investment and Tourism