admin's picture


By Edith G. Alejandro

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (April 26, 2002 – Saipan Tribune)---Tourist arrivals to the Northern Marians dropped by 14.69 percent in March 2002, compared with the year ago’s tally, a report from the Marianas Visitors Authority has disclosed.

MVA records also indicate the volatility of the local tourism sector, with the October-March 2002 arrival statistics dropping by 27.13 percent to 191,945 from last year’s 263,411 during the same period.

In March 2002, the Northern Marianas played host to 37,869 visitors, lower than the 44,388 tourists recorded by the MVA in March 2001.

The strong rally of the Korean market, however, helped the CNMI tourism industry weather deeper upheavals as a result of the 21 percent decline in arrivals from Japan during March 2002.

Arrivals from Korea increased by 77 percent last month, in comparison with March 2001’s statistics. Had it not been for the growth of the Korean market, the NMI tourism industry would have contracted deeper.

Increased arrivals from Korean tourists managed to contain the overall decline in March 2002’s arrival rate to 14.69 percent.

The MVA report noted that none of the Commonwealth’s tourism market – except for Korea – registered growth. The Japanese market shrunk by 21 percent during the period under review.

"Korea continues to be the CNMI's best performer in visitor arrivals," said the MVA.

Arrivals from Korea registered a double-digit growth in the last three months, or since the resumption of Korean Airlines’ daily flights between Seoul and Saipan.

According to the MVA report, the 14.69 percent drop in the overall tourist arrival rate was generally caused by the reduction in the number of charter flights – from six to three – during the period under review, as well as the decline in the number of airline seats from Osaka, Japan and the lower number of ship arrivals to the island.

"There is lower seat capacity from Osaka, Japan via Guam, which took place from November 2001 through March 2002.

Lastly, for the months of February and March 2001, Continental had a direct flight from Osaka, Japan, four times a week," the MVA report pointed out.

Also, only one cruise arrived on Saipan in March 2002, which brought in 329 visitors. Two cruise ships with 888 passengers on board docked at the island in the same month last year.

The MVA also cited the suspension of direct flights between Taipei, Taiwan and Saipan, which was previously served by Mandarin Air through a charter agreement with the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino.

The MVA recorded 28,077 Japanese visitors; 6,207 Korean visitors; 2,566 U.S. and Guam visitors; and 1,019 visitors from other countries last month.

The report also mentioned that all islands in the CNMI experienced a drop in arrivals in March 2002, as outbound travel from many markets worldwide plunged since the September 11 terror attacks.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

Rate this article: 
Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

Add new comment