Kensington, World Resort are Travel Bubble’s ‘corridor hotels’


Kensington Hotel Saipan and Saipan World Resort have been named the two “corridor hotels” for the first phase of the Travel Bubble, which is set to last eight weeks.

According to Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Priscilla Iakopo, corridor hotels are hotels that are subsidized by MVA to operate at 100% capacity to accommodate visitors under the Travel Bubble program.

These hotels are essentially the only hotels that will accommodate the participants of the Travel Bubble during the program’s first phase.

A few months ago, MVA issued RFPs—Requests for Proposals—to all hotels in the CNMI and only three responded: Kensington, Saipan World Resort, and Pacific Islands Club. However, PIC was designated the Hybrid Quarantine Facility, where arriving Travel Bubble tourists will stay for about a week before moving to the corridor hotels, deeming it ineligible to be one of the corridor hotels.

Kensington and World Resort were each allotted $190,000 to operate at 100% capacity through the CNMI Tourism Resumption Investment Plan.

Iakopo said the CNMI Tourism Resumption Investment Plan allotted $15 million for the South Korea Travel Bubble that is expected to run eight weeks. The funds will be used to motivate the CNMI’s South Korea travel partners to sell Saipan’s Travel Bubble.

“Although the budget set aside for tourism is $15 million, the return on investment is far greater. The CNMI TRIP aims to revive this critical economic activity in the CNMI and, as a result, support the sole means for the CNMI to obtain an influx of capital necessary to support the thousands of jobs and, even greater numbers of familie, who have been impacted by this most severe economic contraction the CNMI has ever faced,” Iakopo said.

The first batch of Travel Bubble participants who came in last Saturday totaled 92 passengers, according to Iakopo.

MVA said the first two flights, which came in via Jeju Air and Asiana Airlines, surpassed MVA’s expectations. Iakopo explained that MVA expected to fill just 20% of the flight load for each airline but the number of visitors that came in last Saturday exceeded that.

Asiana and Jeju each have a total capacity of 171 so MVA expected to garner roughly 34 Travel Bubble participants for each flight for a target total of 68 passengers for the first batch of visitors under the program. However, the first batch surpassed this expectation by roughly 35% with 92 passengers.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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