Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios was named acting governor yesterday, with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres heading to Japan to lead the CNMI delegation that will be aboard a Skymark Airlines flight that will make its inaugural flight to the CNMI this Friday.
In a memorandum yesterday, the governor said he will be out of the CNMI on official business beginning yesterday, Nov. 27, 2019, through Nov. 29, 2019.
The memorandum further noted that Palacios would be acting governor until his return.
According to Torres’ chief of staff, Angel Demapan, the governor will be joining officials of the Marianas Visitors Authority and Commonwealth Ports Authority for Skymark Airlines Inc.’ inaugural flight from Tokyo to Saipan tomorrow, kicking off its daily direct flight between the two destinations.
“Prior to takeoff at the Narita International Airport, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the departure gate to commemorate the first daily direct flight between Narita and Saipan after nearly 15 years,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune in a statement.
Demapan added that the return of daily Japanese flights to Saipan would help boost the Commonwealth government’s efforts to revive visitor arrivals from Japan and to “further strengthen our tourism industry.”
“This is a significant event that will be covered by a host of Japan-based media and attended by Japanese travel industry partners,” Demapan added.
A separate press statement said that Torres would also be meeting with Japanese tourism officials.
“Japan and the Japanese tourism are very important to the Marianas. We are grateful for our friendship with Japan. The country has been a strong ally and a major trading partner of the United States and the CNMI in particular. Our island heritage and cultural upbringing are influenced by Japanese culture, further solidifying the strong ties between the Marianas and Japan,” the statement said.
It added that Torres and Palacios’ commitment to the Japan tourism market is underscored by their consistent promotion of the Marianas with Japanese tourism officials and investors.
“This Friday is the culmination of years’ worth of work to strengthen our islands’ most important industry. This administration will continue to promote visitor diversification within our tourism industry, as well as create increased economic opportunities in the form of new jobs, higher wages, and a greater standard of living for every person that calls these islands home.”
Skymark Airlines Inc., known primarily as a domestic airline, announced last Oct. 24, 2019, its plan to have regular direct international service connecting Narita, Japan and Saipan. This is the airline’s first foray into the international market.
The airline’s daily regular flights are scheduled to depart Tokyo, Japan at 10:15am and arrive at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport at 3pm.
“Everyone in our community is looking forward to Skymark’s service, and we cannot wait to fully welcome back our Japanese visitors to our beautiful islands,” Torres said in a previous statement.
With Torres leaving for Japan yesterday morning, one of Palacios’ first order of business was to announce yesterday that Commonwealth government offices will remain closed throughout the day yesterday.