The 40-plus group of YouTube influencers and media personnel that flew in last Saturday for a familiarization tour of the CNMI is very important for the CNMI as this visit—ahead of a planned Travel Bubble between Saipan and South Korea—will jumpstart the whole tourism industry, according to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres.
Speaking at a radio press briefing last Friday, Torres said the tour program—referred to in the travel industry as a FAM tour—is critical as the CNMI will be starting the travel bubble program at the end of this month.
“We have actually key partners, stakeholders of the agencies, as well as other business partners that are coming in this FAM tour,” he said.
The governor said the government will make sure that the FAM tour program—an initiative of the Marianas Visitors Authority—goes smoothly and seamlessly.
He hopes the FAM tour participants will have a great experience so that they will have positive words about the CNMI and share their experiences here when they go back to their country. That way, the CNMI will have a good package to sell and not just for Saipan, but Rota and Tinian as well, he added. “So that’s very exciting and we look forward to that. I hope that we can grace them with open arms and offer assistance in any way that we can,” Torres said.
He urged people to continue to be hospitable and showcase what they have here in the CNMI.
The CNMI’s first group of tourists arrived at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport last Saturday afternoon—more than a year since the CNMI closed its borders to tourists due to COVID-19 pandemic.
MVA and Commonwealth Ports Authority’s officials and staff welcomed the members of the FAM Tour with warm hafa adai and tirow greetings at the airport.
In the FAM Tour are about 40 travel agents, YouTubers and other social media influencers, and a film crew.
The CNMI and South Korea established a Travel Bubble that took effect on July 1, 2021 when Torres and Vice Minister Seong-Kyo Hwang of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea signed the agreement. The agreement facilitates the resumption of air travel between the CNMI and South Korea during the pandemic.