95% lower than pre-COVID arrivals
Arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota grew 1,250% to 2,390 visitors in December 2021, compared to 177 visitors received in December 2020, according to the latest numbers from the Marianas Visitors Authority.
While the figure shows a marked recovery in arrivals as a result of the Tourism Resumption Investment Plan implemented by the MVA in July 2021, it is still a significant decrease from 52,297 visitors received December 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, indicating a continued challenging road ahead for the recovery of the Marianas tourism economy.
Almost all visitors in December arrived under a travel bubble agreement with South Korea, the Marianas’ largest source market prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 1,656 visitors arriving. This compares to December 2020, when the Marianas did not receive any visitors from South Korea.
Also, the Marianas received 357 visitors from Guam, 318 visitors from the United States, and a combined 59 additional visitors from all other destinations in December.
While the Marianas saw declining demand from South Korea in December and early January due to the omicron variant and other factors, the MVA and its tourism partners are optimistic about the rebound of the market in late January during the Lunar New Year holiday period and beyond. The Marianas is expecting approximately 5,000 passengers from Seoul via Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, and T’Way from Jan. 27 to Feb. 28, 2022, as well as approximately 1,000 visitors from Busan through the end of February. (PR)