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.

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

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