Optimistic that the CNMI’s tourism industry is going to rebound, House Speaker Edmund S. Villagomez (Ind-Saipan) expressed support yesterday to the CNMI’s delegation that flew to South Korea to sign a travel bubble agreement with the South Korean government.
As this developed, the Korea Herald published an article last week reporting the soaring demand for overseas travel after the South Korean government’s recent announcements that travel bubble partnerships with other countries could be in the cards.
The Korea Herald, which bills itself as South Korea’s largest English-language daily, said that grounded travel-hungry individuals are anticipating a return of quarantine-free holidays.
When asked for comments about the delegation’s trip, Villagomez said the CNMI needs to find ways to bring back its main industry, which is tourism.
He said the CNMI has been given a break by federal funding from the the American Rescue Plan Act and other funding laws, but they are for a limited time.
“We need to capitalize on this opportunity and hope for the best,” the speaker said.
Villagomez said he hopes Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who is leading the delegation, and the team bring back knowledge from their trip to help make this travel bubble concept work.
“I wish them well,” said Villagomez, adding that this travel bubble will add jobs and add to the economy. “And who knows? We can open up little by little down the road.”
Torres and the delegation flew yesterday to South Korea to sign the travel bubble deal that is key to the CNMI’s efforts to jumpstart its economy by opening its doors to South Korean tourists under its pilot Tourism Resumption Investment Program, or TRIP.
Torres said over the weekend that he and the delegation will meet with officials of South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transportation to sign the travel bubble agreement tomorrow, Wednesday.
The delegation will also go to the Korea Center of Disease Control Agency and conduct site visits. They will also have meetings with airlines and top travel agencies.