Hotels aid community, prep for tourists’ return


The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands is preparing for the restoration of tourism in the Marianas in mid-November, even as member hotels continue to extend assistance to help the community recover from Super Typhoon Yutu.

HANMI chair Gloria Cavanagh thanked Gov. Ralph Torres for meeting with industry and government officials on Oct. 31 to evaluate the Marianas’ readiness to welcome back visitors.

Torres has set Nov. 15, 2018, as the target date to have essential systems operational at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport so that commercial flights may resume.

“Although Yutu was the strongest storm to hit Saipan and Tinian, we, as an industry were lucky to experience minimal damage, overall,” said Cavanagh. “Our southern hotels are the ones that suffered huge damage. However, our central and northern hotels are ready to receive customers. The island infrastructure in these areas is slowly being brought back online, and recovery is proceeding steadily. It is imperative to keep the economy going and people employed, and we commend Governor Torres, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Marianas Visitors Authority, and our other partners for prioritizing the restoration of operations at the airport.”

According to HANMI’s survey of 16 hotels in Saipan, representing 2,754 rooms, nearly 75 percent of rooms are still in operation. In a separate ongoing survey of local businesses, the MVA also reports that 80 percent of respondents are open, while an additional 7 percent report they will open within a week.

“Overall, the Marianas is well on track to jumpstart our economy and welcome visitors again,” said Cavanagh. “Simultaneously, many of our HANMI member hotels are also extending recovery support to the community. This includes providing free drinking water from our reverse osmosis systems to the public, donations of beddings and other supplies such as toiletries for the shelterees, and special assistance to our employees, including access to showers and temporary shelter for some displaced employees. Working together as businesses, government, non-profits, and individuals, we are confident the Marianas will come back stronger than ever.”

Cavanagh noted that Coral Ocean Golf Resort, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Aquarius Towers, and Saipan World Resort are temporarily closed to repair damage done from Yutu. Visitors planning to travel to the Marianas should check with their individual airline, hotel, or tour operator for further information on services. (PR)

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