Torres: No other economic engine to revive economy

Asks people to treat tourists with nicest hospitality

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said Friday that there is no other economic engine to revive the CNMI’s economy if it’s not to bring in airlines for the tourists to visit the islands. 

“You know how much I love Japan and our tourist destinations. Just diversifying our tourism destination is critical to our economy here,” said Torres during a KKMP radio press briefing.

He said Thursday night one of the media asked him how confident the administration is that the partnership arrangement with United Airlines to have these Japan-Saipan direct flights will last. 

“I said this is what we do. We know how important the airline is and how important the Japan market is. And it is us too in the government and the private sector and our community to welcome our tourists and treat them with the nicest hospitality and treat them good,” Torres pointed out. 

He said to get the people of the Marianas opportunity to grow or revive the economy all starts with bringing in the airlines.

“Because we can sit all day and talk about let’s do this, let’s do that. But are we  bringing in new money, new investments coming in?” said governor said.

Torres said the more airlines the CNMI has, it is inevitable to have a good economy, the more opportunity for other people to get hired, and potentially even increase in salary. 

He said they are putting every effort to present new airlines not just from the Japanese market but new ones like Australia, and perhaps bring back the Philippine market as well.  

Torres commended the Marianas Visitors Authority team led by its executive director Priscilla M. Iakopo, MVA board members spearheaded by chairwoman Viola Alepuyo, MVA Travel Resumption Investment Plan chair Ivan Quichocho, COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez, MVA Japan, and United Airlines for bringing back the Japan-Saipan direct flights possible. 

He also gave his appreciation to Finance Secretary David DLG Atalig for his critical role in the CNMI-United Airlines partnership. 

Torres said they had a nice welcoming inaugural flight reception at the Saipan airport Thursday night, where the MVA and Commonwealth Ports Authority showed a good support system. 

“ I want to thank CPA executive director Chris Tenorio and CPA board chairwoman Kimberlyn King-Hinds  for bringing out the whole team. We had some [cultural] dancers last night. Beautiful turnout,” the governor said. 

Torres said he was happy to see Japanese friends, who have been here for a long time, continuing to show support, where it’s PDI, Tasi Tours, or just general managers from hotels, or just simply  Japanese nationals who have been coming to Saipan, Tinian, or Rota for the last couple of decades. 

He said bringing in the Japan market through United Airlines is one factor  as the other factor is having the access for people from the states come here with direct flight from Japan and not necessarily overnighting in Guam, or vice versa. 

The governor said it’s also convenient for  people here in the CNMI leaving Saipan to go to the U.S. mainland and not staying  all day and overnight in Guam.

He said during the inaugural flight, there were people from  North Carolina, Last Vegas, and different parts of the United States, some for returning home and some for family death.

“It just shows the easier access to come to Saipan especially during those troubled times,” Torres said.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at
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