The Marianas Visitors Authority is looking at booking a new charter flight from South Korea to accommodate the pending “travel bubble” program that they anticipate to launch in February.
In an interview with acting MVA chair Gloria Cavanaugh, she said MVA is working on organizing another charter flight from South Korea to the CNMI on Jan. 18 to accommodate its plans, in partnership with E-Land Group of Companies, for a “travel bubble.”
“Jan. 18 is when we’re going to reapply for the charter. So our next target date will be early February,” she said.
Cavanaugh said that once the Korean government is more secure, then they will push forward with their plans for a new charter. “We’re just waiting for the Korea side to be more stable. Last year, the Korean government approved [the charter] and then the following day they rescinded it. We believe that it’s because of the high level [of infections] that they are in right now. It’s total closure of the country and that is until Jan. 17. So, after Jan. 17 we will reapply for a charter. So, it’s still on. As far as the pilot stages, we’re still ready and still the same protocols,” she said.
Fortunately, Cavanaugh said, all the major tour agencies in South Korea know about the CNMI’s plans for a “travel bubble” but the tour cannot be sold yet until a date is confirmed and a confirmed date cannot be made until there is a charter.
“All of the major tour agents know about it. There’s chatter within the [community] so people do know about it. But the tour agents are not going to go out and actively sell [the travel bubbler] yet until they actually have a confirmed date. So, there’s a lot of chatter. There’s a lot of interest in it, but there’s no confirmation on the reservations [and] that is because there isn’t a date. Once there is a date, then the tour agents will actually go out and [sell the program],” she said.
A travel bubble is an exclusive arrangement between two jurisdictions that will allow a relatively easier exchange of travelers between the two.