Nov. 15 eyed target to reopen Saipan airport


Following last week’s impact of Super Typhoon Yutu in the Marianas, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres assured local and international tourism partners that tourism recovery is proceeding steadily and rapidly in Saipan and Tinian with the accelerated assistance of U.S. federal and military partners from around the country.

The Office of the Governor announced a target date of Nov. 15, 2018, to reopen the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.

Assessments are currently being done in preparation for this target date. First responders are working to prioritize the airport’s eventual reopening.

“We had a very productive meeting between the Commonwealth Ports Authority, the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, and our other industry partners to discuss immediate needs. We are united and determined to rebuild stronger than ever, and we look forward to reopening our beautiful shores soon to visitors from around the world. We are anticipating to resume incoming flights once all essential systems are full restored,” said Torres.

“Under the leadership of Governor Torres, our targeted date is Nov. 15, which will also give additional time to work on recovery [on] Saipan and Tinian, which is already proceeding steadily. It also gives our tourism partners a target timeframe for planning purposes and to have confidence that we will be ready for a full holiday season beginning in December. Tourism will help generate the economic activity we need to keep people employed and generate revenue for the government to provide its regular services,” said Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher A. Concepcion.

Many major hotels on Saipan remain open under independent power and water systems, and based on preliminary data, nearly 75 percent of hotel rooms across Saipan remain open. Demand for hotel rooms remains high as emergency responders and residents vie for hotel rooms. Hotel pools, a popular amenity, are opened at most hotels with some limitations, including partial pool or water park closures. While full restoration of power to Saipan and Tinian will take time, businesses have re-opened with the use of generators, and water service is steadily being restored to the villages.

Interisland flights between Saipan and Tinian resumed on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.  Tinian is available for day trips.  However, accessibility to visitor sites and accommodations may be limited. Rota was relatively unaffected by the storm, and tourism there continues as normal.

The Commonwealth Health Center continues to offer full services since the typhoon. Normal gas station operation hours have resumed at most stations. Landline telephone services were nominally affected, and internet and cellular services continue is available throughout most of Saipan.

Tree and debris-clearing continues at major tourist sites.  The Tinian Cliff Fishing Derby scheduled for Nov. 9-11, 2018, and Hell of the Marianas scheduled for Dec. 1, 2018, have been cancelled to focus resources on recovery efforts.

Saipan and Tinian are rapidly recovering at a faster rate than initially expected. Once the Saipan airport is reopened, The Marianas will be ready to receive tourists from its key source markets of Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Russia. Visitors anticipating to travel to the Marianas should contact their airline, hotel, or tour operator for further details. (PR)

Press Release
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