The CNMI saw a spike in arrivals last month, according to a Marianas Visitors Authority statement yesterday.
Arrivals on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota increased 51% from the 36,878 posted in January 2019 to 55,686 in January 2020. The increase was expected as the CNMI was still suffering in January 2019 from the residual effects of Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit the CNMI in October 2018 and closed down the Saipan airport for months.
Latest MVA figures show that China arrivals decreased 2%, with 18,425 visitors posted in January in the runup to the Chinese New Year holiday during the second half of the month. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, three direct flight services to Saipan were suspended in February as a public health precautionary measure and due to decreased demand.
According to MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo, MVA is working to strengthen its marketing and promotions in Korea and Japan in the wake of the suspension of flights from China. MVA plans to advertise to the Japan and Korea market that the Marianas is a coronavirus-free destination.
“We will continue to support our partners through seminars in three different Japan cities which are Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo, that we [MVA] will be hosting at the end of February,” said Iakopo.
According to MVA, Korea grew 111% on a year-to-year basis in January 2020 to 30,648. T’Way Air, which is a low-cost airline in South Korea, is working on a second daily daytime flight from Seoul Incheon to the CNMI late February 2020. Additionally, Asiana Airlines upgraded its aircraft services from Seoul Incheon to an A300 airplane, with 298 seats, from Jan. 1, 2020 through late March 2020.
Visitor arrivals from Japan grew 522% to 3,927 visitors in January due to daily, direct flights that Skymark Airlines launched in November, from Tokyo-Narita to Saipan.
One ship arrival on Jan. 3 brought in 1,791 visitors, mostly from China.