November 2013 visitor arrivals to the Northern Mariana Islands increased by 2 percent compared to November 2012. According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota registered 33,678 visitors in November 2013 compared to 32,894 in November 2012.
Arrivals from Japan dropped 18 percent in November to 8,233 visitors. Delta Air Lines reduced their night flight DL288 from daily service to five times a week effective Oct. 1 through Dec. 23. The 15-percent decline of air seat supply from Narita impacted the Japanese market heavily. In addition, the depreciation of the Japanese yen by 27 percent over the past year versus the U.S. dollar has made travel to the NMI for Japanese effectively 27 percent more expensive this November than in November last year. To help reboot the struggling Japan market, the MVA has launched a new Japan website on Dec. 16 to raise the online visibility of the CNMI in the Japan market and has extended the successful Group campaign to target less price-sensitive market segments.
Arrivals from Korea rose 4 percent in November to 12,350 visitors, more than any other source market. With the launch of Dynamic Airways’ new direct service from Incheon to Saipan in October as the first low-cost carrier linking the Korea market with the NMI, the Korea market is seeing the introduction of a wide range of new travel products to the NMI with competitive prices. Dynamic Airways has announced its intention to double the number of flights from Seoul to the NMI from two a week to four a week during the high season from Jan. 5 to Feb. 28, 2014, which will ensure continued strong growth in arrivals out of the Korea market into the New Year.
Meanwhile, arrivals from China jumped 17 percent in November to 9,631 visitors. The total number of Chinese visitors to the NMI from January to November 2013 has now exceeded 100,000 for the first time in history, reaching 107,379 as of the end of November, a 39-percent increase over 2012. Continued rapid growth is projected out of the China market as the NMI enters the New Year.
Arrivals from Russia nearly doubled, increasing 94 percent to 1,356 visitors to the NMI. While the total number of outbound travelers from Russia to all destinations worldwide is now falling compared to the same period in 2012, due to the ongoing economic slowdown in Russia, arrivals to the NMI continue to soar as a result of strong airlift from East Russia from AVIACHARTERS and Asiana Airlines. Continued strong growth of arrivals from Russia is projected for the New Year as the NMI becomes increasingly attractive with the onset of the freezing winter season. (MVA)