‘Talks to open Saipan to int’l flights this summer ongoing’
Commonwealth Ports Authority board chair Kimberlyn King-Hinds disclosed yesterday that the government, airlines, and the hotel industry are in talks right now to aggressively pursue a plan to open up the CNMI to international flights again this summer.
Speaking at the CPA board meeting yesterday, King-Hinds said the plan is in the works with the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. When asked for more information during a separate interview, King-Hinds said that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and the council have been hard at work in putting together a plan on how to get the tourism industry back online.
“They’re talking about creating this travel bubble that they’re looking to get back online sometime in the summer,” she said.
King-Hinds said she can’t really say definitively when is the target date is for reopening the CNMI to international flights. “But, obviously, even if you say, ‘It just depends on the demand,’ there’s a lot of ifs, there’s a lot of an indeterminable factors at this point,” she said.
King-Hinds said CPA can’t rely on those projections or that plan at this point as CPA wants to see actual numbers.
King-Hinds said she has been hearing that the targeted markets for the planned summer travel bubble are Taiwan, Korea, and Japan.
She said the plan is to basically try to get both the airlines and the hotel industry to communicate with each other to work on a plan to create an incentive program, “now that the government has received some additional assistance from the federal government to try to find a way to basically incentivize the resumption of the tourism industry.”