The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands is reporting less than 20% unweighted average occupancy rate among 11 member-hotels as of last week, the lowest ever rate in March since the organization started tracking occupancy in 1992.
The extremely low average is a result of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on travel to the Marianas. However, HANMI officials are optimistic that this Saturday’s Saipan Marathon 2020 is an indication that visitors are still willing to travel to the Marianas, with proper public health precautions.
“The visitor industry is bleeding right now, and the whole community can feel it,” said HANMI chair Gloria Cavanagh. “Some of our members have cut work-hours by almost 50%, and government austerity may become even more drastic. The best thing we can do to keep ourselves and our community safe is to take the public health advice: stay home if we are sick, avoid physical proximity with those who are sick, wash our hands thoroughly and frequently, and avoid touching our eyes, nose, and mouth. This is a very practical way everyone can help our tourism economy, by limiting the spread of germs.”
A survey of HANMI members shows some hotels are in the planning stage of laying off employees, close entire wings, close restaurants and suspend contracts for outsourced services.
Preliminary projected occupancy rates made last week for April are around 20% in light of additional flight cancellations from Korea, adding to a complete suspension of flights from China since Feb. 1, 2020. Cavanagh cautioned that that percentage may still decrease, as hotels continue to receive room cancellations.
Hotels included in HANMI’s report are Aqua Resort Club, Century Hotel, GrandVrio Resort Saipan, Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Kanoa Resort Saipan, Kensington Hotel Saipan, LaoLao Bay Golf & Resort, Saipan World Resort, Surfrider Resort, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan.
HANMI was established in 1985 as a professional forum for the hospitality industry of the Marianas. HANMI also makes regular charitable donations to support non-profit organizations and tourism-related government projects. (PR)