The CNMI’s current lack of hotel rooms to accommodate many Korean tourists is now being “addressed,” according to Gov. Ralph DLG Torres Friday.
“We have an issue but it’s a good issue,” said Torres, referring insufficient number of hotel rooms. He said it only shows the high interest of tourists from South Korea in coming to the Commonwealth under the travel bubble agreement and CNMI’s Tourism Resumption Investment Plan.
The governor said the way it is structured under the CNMI’s travel bubble agreement with South Korea makes the Commonwealth have a limited number of hotel rooms for the hybrid quarantine hotel (where the tourists would stay for the first five days while awaiting their test results) and the corridor hotel (where they will eventually move into).
“We cannot accommodate anyone who wants come here at this moment. But we are addressing that,” Torres said.
CNMI COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, who is also a board member of the Marianas Visitors Authority, said he, MVA managing director Priscilla M. Iakopo, and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muna are “addressing” the problem. Villagomez said it’s not final yet but they are looking at other options. He did not elaborate.
He said they want to address the issue considering that, beginning Nov. 8, 2021, the U.S. government will be lifting some restrictions for foreign travelers from 33 countries who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 pursuant to President Joe Biden’s recent directive.
The CNMI’s hybrid-quarantine hotel is Kensington Hotel Saipan, where TRIP travelers are quarantined for five days upon arrival.
After release from quarantine, TRIP travelers are limited to stay at the corridor hotel, which is Saipan World Resort. Travelers are released to the community after a third negative test on Day 5.
Iakopo disclosed last week that they have received proposals from three hotels totaling 350 rooms to also become hybrid-resort quarantine facilities.