Cavanagh says China advisory worrisome

Means CNMI needs to work harder in promoting to other markets

Marianas Visitors Authority board chair Marian Aldan-Pierce, center, presides over a board meeting last Wednesday in which they discussed, among other things, MVA’s financial status. At Aldan-Pierce’s left is MVA board vice chair Gloria Cavanagh. (Ferdie De La Torre)

Marianas Visitors Authority board vice chair Gloria Cavanagh said if an advisory is strictly enforced about China warning its citizens to stop visiting the United States amid the trade tensions between the two countries, it will have a greater effect to the CNMI than to Hawaii.

In an interview last Wednesday, Cavanagh said Hawaii has so many visitors that come from everywhere including the U.S. mainland.

She said the effect to Hawaii is not going to be as bad compared to the CNMI, where the Chinese market is actually 40 percent.

“So, this is something that you know we actually no control of because it deals with Washington, D.C. and with the tariff war,” said Cavanagh who is also the president of the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.

According to, with the latest advisory from the China government, Hawaii, just like the CNMI, might take a direct hit.

Describing the advisory as worrisome, Cavanagh said this just means that MVA has to work harder not just with the China market but also Korea and Japan markets.

She said MVA having this arrears and not being able to collect the hotel occupancy tax that Public Law 18-1 had given the agency for its operation and promotion then it just makes it more difficult.

“We are just pleading with the Legislature and with the administration that they need to think outside the box, not just today but for the future,” she said.

Cavanagh said if there is any way that the CNMI is going to get out of this austerity measures quickly then the government must make sure that they put the money in an area that links for the economy.

“Yes, we feel for all the other agencies and we are not saying that we are more important. But we are saying that in order to make money you need to spend money in MVA,” she said.

Cavanagh said this month, Korea arrivals may have gone over China, but since Super Typhoon Yutu’s destruction last October, China has been the top market for the CNMI and Korea was the secondary market.

The MVA vice chair said the Legislature needs to know that if they want government employees to be out of austerity measures there is a need to promote the CNMI destination.

“Our only economic driver is tourism,” she stressed.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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