Arrivals to the CNMI fell to just 5,595 visitors in November this year due to Super Typhoon Yutu, which hit the islands in October. In comparison, the CNMI had 48,950 visitors in November last year.
Arrivals have steadily rebounded, however, as a majority of airlines have restored flights to the CNMI, soon after the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport resumed 24-hour operations on Nov. 20.
“In November 2018 the Marianas saw the full impact of Super Typhoon Yutu, with almost all flights cancelled during the month,” said Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher A. Concepcion. “Fortunately, our recovery has been tremendous and faster than originally expected. In December we are seeing most flights restored, and we are looking forward to a solid holiday travel period and full recovery over the next couple months.”
Arrivals from South Korea dropped 98 percent in November; there were only 531 visitors from Korea that month.
Jeju Air resumed its daily service from Incheon, Korea, on Nov. 27 and will restart night time services beginning Jan. 21, 2019. In time for holiday travel, Jeju Air flights departing from Busan will resume on Dec. 21, and Asiana Airlines will also re-open flights from Incheon on Dec. 20.
While arrivals from China dropped 85 percent in November to 2,400, the market was the first to restore all flights to the Marianas. Flights from Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou have since resumed their normal schedule.
Arrivals from Japan were 97 percent lower in the month at 126 visitors, largely due to the cessation of direct flights from the country to the Marianas in May 2018. Skymark Airlines has officially announced scheduled daily direct flights from Japan in 2019. In the interim, the MVA is promoting two-city packages to the Marianas via Seoul, Korea, and has launched new promotions with Expedia.
South Korea’s economy is expected to grow 2.6 percent in 2019 due to slowing exports and weak domestic demand. The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade also lowered this year’s gross domestic product outlook to 2.7 percent. The average U.S. dollar/won exchange rate in November was 1124.85 won, a slight decrease from the previous rate of 1129.53 won in October.
According to the latest data from China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, 43 million Chinese citizens have travelled out of the country in the third quarter of 2018, and the number is still growing.
Japan’s consumer price inflation rose to 1.4 percent year-on-year in October 2018 from 1.2 percent in the previous month and matching market estimates. It was the highest rate since February, mainly due to a jump in prices of food. (MVA)