MVA: 2,000-room integrated resort can bring $1.8B windfall for CNMI

With the tourism industry growing once again, the dearth of rooms have always been the issue especially during peak seasons when tourists come 4to the CNMI in droves.

The Marianas Visitors Authority says that the 2,000-hotel room integrated resort by Best Sunshine could have a $1.8 billion economic impact to the CNMI if the hotel rooms are fully booked.

“This will almost double the current number of rooms we have in the CNMI,” MVA managing director Perry Tenorio said.

MVA projects that the CNMI will have to increase its number of visitors by approximately 451,000 in order to fill up all the additional rooms.

Over the past decade, the CNMI has seen a 13-percent overall decline in the number of operating hotel rooms. Closures have occurred primarily since 2006 due to the drop in Japan air service and rising costs of doing business.

The largest losses were on Saipan, which saw the closure of two hotels, the 114-room Plumeria Resort in 2009 and the 313-room Palms Resort in 2010, according to MVA.

The integrated resort won’t only add to the additional rooms but introduce key sources of the planned hotel to attract visitors that will benefit the CNMI in other areas.

As part of MVA’s master plan for 2012 to 2016, casino lies in the “niche markets” which will help increase arrivals and expenditures by attracting special visitors. The integrated resort and casino adds casino and meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions or MICE market.

The MICE market provides some business to the CNMI hotels that have banquet facilities and is driven by private investment of the hotels that have facilities and do their own overseas marketing.

Based on MVA’s 2011 exit survey, visitors of different nationalities stated that they would like to see more nightlife and new attractions on the islands.

“The opening of casinos on Saipan would provide some additional activity to help fulfill this need,” MVA stated.

MVA, however, stated that casinos did not rank among the Top 10 activities that exiting visitors would like to see more of on the islands,.

“This was most likely due to the fact that there was only one operating casino on the islands at the time of the survey and it was located on Tinian, which received only a fraction of the total visitors,” MVA stated.

MVA’s 2012 to 2016 data showed that most visitors to the casino on Tinian were Chinese tourists due to the targeted marketing and tour packages.

“As the proposal [2,000 hotel room], this resort will have much to offer our visitors beyond the casino,” Tenorio said.

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Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at

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  • tarklejr

    Well, it WILL be quite interesting to recall Mr. Tenorio’s words on this in, say, 10 years. Let’s see whether or not the proof will be in the pudding. $1.8 BILLION?

  • theheckler14

    SO, do we still need the casino or not?

  • Captain

    More words from another brain dead person. It will be at least, the very minimum of more than 3 years (most likely 4 yrs) BEFORE anything at all is built and that will be 250 rooms and a Casino. The rest of the “integrated Resort” will not be completed until at least 8 years. (according to their own plan) Before that time the planned renovation by others of their present existing hotel should be completed asnd available.
    A lot can happen in relation to Chinese tourists in those number of years, especially the way the world is at this time and also the many problems that Chin is causing in the China Sea area involving disputed Islands.

    And yes, Dynasty have tourists on their charter flights. Their Charter flights have to have a certain number of seats sold as Dynasty has to pay for the empty seats, the flight is made up of tourists on tour packages through Century and other China based tour companies.
    I was familiar with the types of people coming in on those flights. The majority are plain tourists and many young adults and kids, that have no interest in Gambling. The charter flights are very cheap even locals avail of them t fill up seats..
    Everything is pre sold in China, from airport pickups to the food, tours, ground transportation on Saipan, hotel, meals, transportation to Tinian and everything there.
    In the past if any additional activity is available on island that was not “sold” in the package, the majority of the people do not have the money to pay and go on it.

    In the past there were “complimentary gaming chips” along with free lessons on how to gamble on various games. All this in an effort to interest all to Gamble. Except for the few “High Rollers” on these flights, for the most part all are on a tight budget and it is the first time that they have ever been out of China. They are more interested in the sights rather than Gambling.

    BTW just to make this projected 451,000 visitors a year to Saipan, that would be average 1236 people A DAY. The China Air hold an average of 250 people, that is 5 full plane loads a day, every single day just to fill the rooms.
    So how do all the rooms get filled with just 1236 people a day? There would be about over 3500-4000 rooms total counting all the other hotels.
    If this is the case with these number of room it would seem to me that those number of tourists given by MVA would have to be three times more than their current prediction. So in essence 15 flights a day from all over Asia.
    NOW that would be a good scenario and very profitable if it was to happen. AND if the infrastructure could handle those additional numbers.
    BUT in reality?????? Would/could an integrated resort Casino along with what little elese is here to actually have that kind of draw from around Asia as other places have so much more to see and do.?? We shall see in the coming years.

    At this point in time it does not look so good on the timeline as there yet has not been any location been confirmed. This along with from where and just how many construction workers (and heavy equipment) will be needed for the first phase. Only time will tell.

  • tarklejr

    ATLANTIC CITY! – the largest gambling mecca in the U.S. outside of Nevada. They have everything: Great beaches, amusement centers (parks), water parks, boardwalks, thousands of stores and restaurants and, most importantly, 30 MILLION people within driving distance!
    Today, Sept. 1, 2014, the “REVEL” hotel CLOSED it’s doors permanently. The hotel was the largest on the shore – built in 2012 at a cost of 2.4 BILLION dollars and employing over 4000 people. It WAS THE shining star of Atlantic City. It had declared bankruptcy TWO times in two years since opening In addition to FOUR other VERY large “integrated resorts” that have closed or will close by the end of Sept. putting 1/4th of the entire city’s population OUT OF WORK and reducing the city’s revenue by 32%. The Mayor was quoted on CBS news tonight: “Too many people think that if you build a giant and pretty “integrated resort” people will come and gamble and have a great time – it just doesn’t happen that way anymore!”
    My view? – IF Best Sunshine actually builds such a resort on Saipan, it will face the same fate as Atlantic City. Personally, I don’t think it will EVER be built or reach the size touted by Saipan’s “leaders” as the magic bullet. Retirees, time to start looking for greener pastures – you were ALL behind this thing because you thought you’d be able to breathe easier (again). Too bad your windfall will be fleeting.

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