CNMI open again for tourists

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has declared the CNMI open for business once again.

Despite the islands still recovering from two destructive typhoons—Super Typhoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut—Torres said the Commonwealth is once again ready to welcome tourists.

“We want to bring our tourists back on the islands. We want to inform them that the CNMI is once again open. That we’re capable of caring for our tourists and that our roads are safe enough to drive at,” said Torres Monday, just a day before the Francisco C, Ada/Saipan International Airport resumed nighttime flights last Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Yutu barreled through Saipan and Tinian late Oct. 24 and the early hours of Oct. 25, its more than 185-mile-per-hour winds sweeping through houses like kindling and toppling power poles.

The super typhoon destroyed the southern part of Saipan and most of Tinian, affecting the vegetation and lush nature that’s one of the scenic attractions of the island. Roads were also littered with typhoon debris like tin roofing, wood, tree branches, and broken glasses.

The CNMI’s tourism industry was the hardest hit, with some hotels like Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Saipan World Resort, and Coral Ocean Point sustaining extensive damage and had to close down to undergo repairs.

The Saipan airport resumed daytime flights last Nov. 15 and nighttime flights last Tuesday.

There are reports that Hong Kong Airlines would resume its flights on Nov. 29 and Asiana on Dec. 2, while T’Way has suspended its flights until April next year.

Torres, however, added that accommodation would depend on the availability of rooms, with some of them being used to house some of their employees and relief operation.

Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan has personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other U.S. federal government officials.

“Of course, it depends on where [hotel] you go but some of the hotels are open despite some having limited amenities,” said Torres.

“So, our tourists can start coming in and we could start generating revenue at the same time. The CNMI is again a destination to be considered in the near future.”

The first international flight from Hong Kong was expected to arrive yesterday via Hong Kong Express, while Sichuan Airlines will resume its flights from Guangzhou and Shanghai starting Nov. 26 and 28 while Jeju Air returns with its daily trips from Seoul beginning Nov. 27, the same day when China Eastern restarts from China.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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