The Commonwealth Ports Authority ruled Friday that the $1 per passenger fee collected from Managaha Island tourists will be waived anew for another six months or until June this year.
The decision was made following a request by Tasi Tours & Transportation Inc., which sought an extension of the waiver for the whole of 2014.
According to board member Benigno Sablan, the decision was reached after the board’s extensive discussion on the request in an executive session Friday. He moved that Tasi Tours be given until June 30, 2014.
Beginning July 1, however, CPA will begin collecting the fee again.
Due to the challenges faced by the tourism industry, CPA first approved in 2012 a waiver for Tasi Tours suspending the $1 per passenger fee collected from tourists going to Managaha. This waiver was granted anew for the same reason in 2013.
On Jan. 3, 2014, Tasi Tours president Kazusuke Fukuju formally asked for another waiver of the seaplane facility charge. This amounts to $1 for every tourist that the company drops off to Pacific Subsea, which transports tourists to Managaha Island. The extension request was sought until the seaplane dock has been renovated or CPA transfers to the Outer Cove Marina dock.
Saipan Tribune learned that since granting the waiver in 2012, CPA has lost a significant amount of revenue: about $90,000 in 2012 and $78,000 in 2013. The figures were based on the arrivals posted by the company on both years, factoring in the $1 per passenger fee supposedly collected from tourists.
CPA has a standing lease agreement with Pacific Subsea but because Tasi Tours provides customers to Pacific Subsea, the waiver was directly sought by the tour company.
Last Friday, officials of Tasi Tours were seen attending the CPA board’s executive session prior to voting on the new six-month waiver in the open session.