Tourist arrivals to the CNMI grew 1,669% to 9,746 visitors in August 2022, compared to 551 visitors received in August 2021, according to the Marianas Visitors Authority.
So far this fiscal year, 61,278 visitors have come to the Commonwealth compared to 4,258 visitors over the same period last fiscal year.
August’s figure is about one-third the number of average monthly arrivals prior to the pandemic, but it marks a significant increase in arrivals since July 2021 at the implementation of the MVA’s Tourism Resumption Investment Plan.
A total of 8,111 visitors arrived from South Korea in August 2022, compared to only 94 visitors in August 2021. There were 75 flights to the CNMI in August, although a rising number of COVID-19 cases in South Korea is making people hesitant to travel. Also, the Korean won (KRW) continues to fall further against the dollar, costing Korean visitors more to purchase the same amount of service compared to before the pandemic.
The Marianas received 148 visitors from Japan in August 2022, compared to only one visitor in August 2021. Beginning on Sept. 1, 2022, three weekly flights from Narita to Saipan by United Airlines began under incentives offered by the TRIP program. The program will continue for an initial six months as the MVA and tourism partners work to stabilize the Japan market. Two major challenges facing the market include Japan’s seventh wave of increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, resulting in travel apprehension, and a weak Japanese yen.
The Marianas also received 710 visitors from Guam, 558 visitors from the U.S. and a combined 219 additional visitors from all other destinations in August.