Saipan welcomes over 100 tourists

THE Commonwealth on Friday welcomed the first group of tourists who arrived on island less than a month after Typhoon Yutu devastated Saipan and Tinian.

CPA Executive Director Chris Tenorio said the 180 visitors were passengers of a Hong Kong Express aircraft landed at the Saipan airport at 2:45 p.m. on Friday.

Tenorio said it was the first international flight to Saipan after the airport was closed due to Typhoon Yutu.

Marianas Visitors Authority personnel welcome newly arrived tourists from China on Friday. Photo by Cherrie Anne E. VillahermosaMarianas Visitors Authority personnel welcome newly arrived tourists from China on Friday. Photo by Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa

“We are very pleased to welcome HK Express back as the first commercial airline to resume international flights to the CNMI after Super Typhoon Yutu,” MVA Managing Director Christopher Concepcion said.

At the airport on Friday, Concepcion said “MVA greeted the visitors to showcase our famous island hospitality. United Airlines  operated between Saipan and Guam right after the storm but that’s essentially considered a domestic flight between two U.S. jurisdictions.”

He added, “It’s going to be huge challenge to get things back to normal in our tourism industry, but we are seeing great things happening already, and we are very positive that things will only get better and continue to improve from here.

CPA said in the next couple of days, there will be more flights to Saipan now that its airport is up and running, and is operating day and night.

In a statement on Sunday, Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said: “This is a promising sign as we jumpstart our tourism market so that our local businesses and hotels can serve our visitors and thrive again. This was a big priority for Governor Torres and the administration because it reinforces our private sector, which already sustained losses in the wake of the disaster, but it also underscores our marketing strategy to our tourism partners that the Marianas continues to be a preferred destination for visitors from around the world. The Marianas Visitors Authority has already been proactively advertising our islands, and we should see a steady stream of visitors pick up again as we move forward.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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