MVA welcomes keys for growth of NMI tourism

The Marianas Visitors Authority is welcoming the two basic key elements—airlift and additional room inventory—that would further help the CNMI’s recovering tourism industry. Three airlines launched direct flights to Saipan in a span of one month, while Kensington Hotel Saipan opened last week.

MVA managing director Chris Concepcion said the inaugural flights made by Korean low cost carrier Jin Air, Philippine Airlines Express, and Hong Kong Airlines is a welcome addition to the CNMI’s growing tourism market.

“The MVA is thrilled with the new flight launches. Airlift is a key for our tourism industry so we welcome these new entrants and look forward to working with them to jointly promote the CNMI overseas,” Concepcion told Saipan Tribune.

He said the MVA has been working with the said airlines even before they launched their respective inaugural flights to Saipan. Jin Air had its inaugural flight on June 9, while PAL Express followed a week after on June 16, and Hong Kong Express landed on July 7.

“The MVA has been working closely with these airlines well even before these flights were launched and we will continue that partnership going forward,” said Concepcion, who added that they would also put high importance to the other airlines.

We also continue to place high importance on carriers who have been flying to the CNMI for many years. Our relationship with them is critical and will be protected for the foreseeable future,” Concepcion said.

Asiana Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jeju Air, and United Airlines are four of the other carriers that had been flying to Saipan from various destinations. Three more air carriers are set to launch its service from secondary cities in Japan, one of which is Dynamic International Airways.

Air Asia, Vanilla Air, t’way, Jeju Air, Jet Asia, Eastar Jet, Jin Air, Air Busan, and Peach are the other Asian LCCs that the three-member Japan Airlift Development Team—one of MVA’s tourism partners in Asia—is targeting.

He added that the development of a casino and a 6-star hotel are some of the new products and destinations that the CNMI will be offering to Japanese tourists. He said these new developments, if completed, would rival those of Tahiti, Bali, and the Maldives.

Kensington Hotel’s grand opening is another key as it gives tourists another choice of hotel and at the same time increasing the number of rooms on the island.

“The MVA is very happy with the opening of Kensington Hotel Saipan. This provides additional room inventory for Saipan at a time when occupancy rates at other properties are higher than they’ve been for many years,” said Concepcion.

“We congratulate and thank E-Land Group for their commitment to the CNMI. This property [Kensington] is being billed as high-end which fits well with our goal of attracting premium tourists to the CNMI.”

Concepcion added that they have been planning and working on how to market E-Land’s latest hotel investment on Saipan even before it opened last July 21. Coral Ocean Golf Resort and Pacific Islands Club Saipan are the other hotels operated by E-Land.

“The MVA has begun promoting this property overseas and the reception has been great. They see this opening as another example of the good things happening in the CNMI tourism industry,” said Concepcion.

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Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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