Chinese tourist numbers are bound to surpass Korean visitors, which are two of the CNMI’s key markets as Japanese arrivals continue to decrease, according to a recent study by the Marianas Visitors Authority.
During a five-year period, Chinese arrivals went up by 25 percent from 15 percent in 2011 to 40 percent last year, while the Korean tourist arrivals vary from 34 percent (2013) to 40 percent 2015. The Korean arrivals are at 35 percent in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
China’s outbound travel market increased by close to 200 percent, from 7.1 million in 1995 to 133 million in early this year buoyed by the strong economic gains by the Asian giant. More than half of those travelers are millennials, who wanted to try new experiences.
Korea, on the other hand, has 38 percent of its population traveling overseas and the number is expected to breach the 20-million mark by the end of the year. The rapid growth of the low cost carrier market is one of the factors seen in the Korean outbound market.
Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy and 13th in the world with the country’s economic growth going up from 2.6 percent in 2015 to 2.8 percent this year. Unemployment has also gone down to 3.2 percent from 3.6 percent last year.
These numbers are what the MVA wanted to capitalize on while also hoping to revive the once vibrant Japanese tourism market. The MVA sees the new offshore representations that they awarded to the winning bidders would further help the CNMI tourism industry.
Skywalker Communications Group was awarded a contract to handle the China market while Access Inc. holds huge task of reviving the Japanese tourism in the CNMI. AVIAREPS has a wider scope, as it would take on Korea, Taiwan, and Russia
MVA managing director Chris Concepcion, in an email to the Saipan Tribune, thanked the eight-member selection committee that chose which companies would provide offshore representation, press releases, and other promotional activities of the MVA in the said markets.
“The MVA board ratified the results submitted by this committee in our last board meeting on July 19 and we are ready to move forward effective Oct. 1. We congratulate the winners. Tourism is our only industry in the CNMI so this decision was critically important,” said Concepcion.
Concepcion added the CNMI tourism industry is moving into a new era as evident by the rapid development that’s taking place right now, that’s why he is asking the cooperation of all sectors in the community.
“We urge our partners in the public and private sectors to work together to ensure that we are ahead of the curve with this development and not the other way around. It is so important that we have stable economic growth and that we are in control of everything so that the quality of life for our residents is enhanced,” he said.
“We want to reiterate the importance of the MVA in all this development because the work we do to market the CNMI overseas is what fuels all this growth. We need to ensure our funding source is protected in order for us to carry out our mission as an organization.”