Following this month’s Typhoon Soudelor in the Northern Mariana Islands and a declared state of emergency by President Obama, tourists are continuing to visit the islands as recovery efforts make steady progress.
Major hotels have continued to operate smoothly throughout the recovery period under independent power and water systems. While restoration of power to most of Saipan municipality is taking time, businesses have re-opened with the use of generators and water service is slowly being restored to the villages.
Demand for hotel rooms remains high as visitors, emergency responders, and residents vie for hotel rooms. While some hotels suffered damage, most hotels still have their full inventory of rooms in operation. Hotel pools, a popular amenity, are open at most hotels with some limitations, including partial pool or water park closures.
While a significant amount of tree and debris-clearing continues, major tourist sites are open and continue to receive hundreds of visitors each day, including Banzai Cliff, the Grotto, Suicide Cliff, Bird Island Lookout, and Last Command Post. Managaha is open, and beaches are all fully open while cleanup continues. Water sports and most land tours have also resumed.
“The cleanup and restoration of services required is still significant but moving along very quickly with the assistance of the federal government,” said Gov. Eloy S. Inos. “For the most part, visiting tourists continue to enjoy many of the same services and attractions our islands are known for. We are committed to a complete restoration of the industry in the coming weeks.”
The Saipan International Airport is open 24 hours as of yesterday, Aug. 17, and flights between Saipan, Tinian, and Rota remain in operation.
On Tinian, damage was significantly less than on Saipan, with minimal power disruption and minor damage to tourist sites. Rota received even less damage than Tinian.
The Commonwealth Health Center was transferred off of generator to the main power grid last week and has continued to offer full services since the typhoon. Gasoline rationing was lifted last week and normal station operation hours resumed. Landline telephone services were not affected, and Internet and cellular services continue with minimal interruption.
In short, Saipan is rapidly recovering and back in business to receive tourists from its key source markets of Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Russia. (Office of the Governor and the Marianas Visitors Authority)