The Marianas Visitors Authority anticipates over 600 tourists this month, with bookings to the CNMI surpassing the 600 mark just a week into September.
During the MVA’s monthly board meeting last Thursday, Ivan Quichocho, MVA board member and TRIP South Korea chair, said MVA’s goal was to bring in about 686 tourists under the South Korean Travel Bubble for the month of September. However, as of last Thursday, MVA travel agent partners in South Korea have already confirmed about 650 bookings.
“September was forecasted by both carriers and agents to be at around 686. If I’m not wrong, and as of today, the bookings for the September trip passengers is sitting at 650 to 652. So we’re just off and we’re only considering sales from Sept. 1 through 8. I do anticipate we will be well beyond that forecast within the week. The agents have been aggressively selling and pushing this Travel Bubble,” he said.
Quichocho said the high volume in bookings is thanks to the fact that the CNMI is the only destination with a Travel Bubble in place for South Korea.
“The CNMI is the only Travel Bubble established with South Korea. Thanks to the administration, COVID-19 Task Force, and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., all their wonderful work has helped establish the foundation that this program is based on,” he said.
Meanwhile, for the month of October, 483 bookings have been confirmed, Quichocho said.
“Currently, as of Sept. 8, October is sitting at 483 bookings. The projection is 853 or 850 so given that we’re only at Sept. 8, and the daily bookings are at a pace of a minimum of 100 bookings per day, I anticipate that that October number that we projected will be achieved, if not exceeded,” he said.
Quichocho added that bookings from South Korea to the CNMI have been at a consistent pace with a minimum of 100 bookings daily.
“Just to give you an idea on the pace of bookings, starting Aug. 31 for September through the end of November, which is the period we’re selling, we picked up 113 bookings on the first day alone. On Sept. 1, we picked up 48 bookings, the second 75 bookings, the third 109 bookings, the sixth 119, and Sept. 7, we issued 325 bookings in one day. For Sept. 8, there was 107 bookings. So the pace seems to be pretty consistent,” he said.
With the influx of tourists in the coming months, MVA is confident that roughly 384 tourism industry workers will be back to work in time for the holidays.