Arrivals dip 2 pct. in December 2017
Visitors arrivals to the Marianas marked 24-percent growth overall in 2017, although arrivals dipped 2 percent in December 2017 for the first time since May 2016.
According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota registered 57,331 visitors in December 2017, compared to 58,558 visitors received in December 2016
“[The] Year 2017 has been a phenomenal year for tourism in the Marianas, buoyed by strong air service and demand from Korea and China,” said MVA managing director Christopher A. Concepcion.
“For the past 21 months in a row, the CNMI has seen a consistent monthly increase in arrivals so we’ve finally been able to stabilize our numbers at such a critical time in the industry.
“There is a very realistic scenario upon us that the CNMI CW visa program has the potential to cut off our industry lifeline to workers that sustain the industry.
“Industry performance in 2018 and, therefore, the economic health of our government, businesses, and families, hinges on finding a resolution to this debacle. We are counting on the successful enactment of the Northern Mariana Islands U.S. Workforce Act now in Congress to address this critical issue. All the promotions in the world won’t help if there aren’t hotels, restaurants, and other services in the Marianas,” Concepcion said.
The December dip is largely attributed to 1,929 visitors that arrived via a cruise ship in December 2016.
Arrivals from Korea dropped 7 percent to 29,092, although the country retained its position as the top performing source market.
Arrivals from China grew 6 percent compared to December 2016 to 18,781 visitors. Arrivals from Japan were 14 percent lower than December 2016 at 5,445 visitors. (MVA)