Super Typhoon Yutu left a trail of destruction on Saipan and Tinian. The natural disaster has been heart-wrenching because the storm left our beautiful islands looking like a war zone. The islandwide destruction affected personal property, our infrastructure and the business community. Like so many others, Imperial Pacific International (CNMI), LLC was included in this trail of destruction.
Unfortunately, the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport was not spared, suffering millions of dollars in damage and forcing authorities to close the airport except for emergency purposes. The airport’s closure has put a complete halt to the tourist industry because commercial flights have been suspended until the airport is safe for commercial flights to resume again.
Imperial Pacific also suffered millions of dollars in unexpected damage, forcing the company to make adjustments to ensure typhoon cleanup and repairs are done safely so employees and development continues to be protected.
Initially, once all the tourists left our islands, Imperial Pacific decided to have limited casino operation hours for two weeks, from Nov. 2 to Nov. 15, 2018. Essential employees were identified to work limited operation hour shifts; and non-essential employees were allowed to either take paid time off or voluntarily participate in the company-initiated community service program with stipend allocation, to help in the community’s recovery efforts. Over the past few weeks, Imperial Pacific has undertaken an assessment on steps the company must take to survive the unforeseeable business effects of this natural disaster.
Imperial Pacific has recently learned that, although the Saipan International Airport is scheduled to resume normal operations soon, our previous experience with Typhoon Soudelor was that it took several weeks for the tourist population to normalize because tour packages were cancelled and it will take time to entice visitors to visit our typhoon-ravaged islands.
In order to make the necessary post-typhoon repairs and because Imperial Pacific did not want to continue to keep casino open by attracting only residents to patronize the casino, Imperial Pacific has made the difficult decision to temporarily shut down casino operations effective Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, until further notice. Imperial Pacific hopes that the islands’ main industry—the tourism market—rebounds immediately after full airport operations so the company can resume normal casino operations. (PR)