A unified push by the Marianas Visitors Authority and its tourism partners to rebuild the Korean market after Super Typhoon Yutu is paying off, with an uptick in bookings in early December.
Since the resumption of normal operations at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport on Nov. 27, 2018, Jeju Air has resumed its daily service from Incheon, with flights from Busan to resume on Dec. 21 and Asiana Airlines to also resume flights from Seoul on Dec. 20.
The MVA launched its “We Together” recovery campaign in the first week of December to help fill airline seats to Saipan via various promotions and sales. Reservations for December and March 2018 almost doubled in a week, while bookings in January and February also saw steady increase.
“The MVA and its tourism partners are pulling out all the stops to show the travelling public in Korea that the Marianas is again a beautiful and safe destination worth visiting,” said MVA acting marketing manager Thomas Kim. “New tour products are being sold, discounted flights and packages are being offered, and media [familiarization] tours are being scheduled. The ‘We Together’ promotion is being carried on various platforms, from home shopping channels, to social commerce, to travel agent and airline websites, newspapers, key opinion leaders and more. We are very pleased with the results of our first week of the promotion and will continue to push hard to restore the strength of the Korean market through the assurance that the Marianas is back in business and still an incredible place to visit.”
More than half of major travel agencies offering Marianas tour products posted triple digit growth in the number of bookings for December made in the first week of the month, showing a strong demand for holiday travel bolstered by the “We Together” special offers from travel agencies and airlines.
In cooperation with Brand USA, the MVA is arranging for Lonely Planet to visit Rota and Saipan on Dec. 26-30, 2018. Editors of Maeil Business Newspaper will have a familiarization tour of Saipan on Dec. 13-16, 2018, and Aju Business Daily will send an editorial team to cover scuba-diving on Rota and Saipan at the end of the month. In partnership with Korea’s No. 1 travel community platform Travelholic, two film crews will visit the Marianas this month, including one of the top content creators in Korea, Seongin Park, who has 80,000 followers.
“Based on news stories we have monitored, coverage of the Marianas has focused nearly exclusively on the normalization of tourism, which is great,” said MVA managing director Christopher Concepcion. “This underscores our promotional message. The market has turned around, and we want to see more Korea visitors more quickly. That’s our goal.”
Last fiscal year, Korea was the top source market of visitors for the Marianas. (MVA)