Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino general manager Tom Liu hopes that Sunday’s crash of a Star Marianas commuter plane that killed three people and injured four others won’t have any lasting negative effect on Tinian’s tourism industry.
Liu, in a telephone interview with the Saipan Tribune, said he sympathizes with the victims of the crash and hopes for the speedy recovery of those injured. He also believes the accident, while tragic and very unfortunate, was an isolated case.
He said that since Golden Week just recently ended, tourism traffic to the island has slowed down so there’s no telling if the crash has had a negative effect on Tinian’s tourist arrivals.
Liu added that since Tinian residents have no alternative means to travel to and from Saipan, they should just block out negative thoughts when commuting between the two islands. He himself just flew back from an all-day meeting on Saipan yesterday.
Liu also confirmed that the week before the ill-fated crash, the hotel was fully booked and operations were very busy due to Golden Week. In fact, Liu said they have been extremely busy the past couple of months.
On the matter of reviving the ferry services between the two islands, Liu said there is no plan yet to relaunch Tinian Shipping and Transportation Inc., which was a subsidiary of Tinian Dynasty.
Tinian Shipping and Transportation suspended its ferry service between Saipan and Tinian in March 2010. The decision was initially announced as temporary as the ferry needed repairs, but more than three years hence, no commercial vessel has plied the route since.
Liu said he and other residents of Tinian are hopeful that an ongoing study by the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority to reestablish the route pans out.
In a presentation last July at the Rotary Club of Saipan, COTA special adviser Thomas J. Camacho said his office is not only looking at the feasibility of an interisland ferry service between Saipan and Tinian but between the latter and Rota as well.
For calendar year 2013 ending July, visitor arrivals to Tinian have jumped 3 percent to 5,711 arrivals compared to 5,558 during the same period last year.
Arrivals from China constitute the bulk of tourists on the island, making up 4,838 of the total. Arrivals from Korea (602), Japan (139), Saipan (108) Guam (13), and the U.S. (3) make up the rest.
The over 400-room Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino has 75,000 square feet of gaming/casino area including The Dynasty Club that offers five VIP rooms.