CNMI Sees Marked Increase In Chinese Tourism Since March

admin's picture

Most Chinese visitors came for ocean and beach scenery

By Tammy Doty

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, May 31, 2012) – Even while the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) Retirement Fund, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. undergo painful upheavals, there remains at least one positive sign for the islands.

March ushered in another strong month for tourism with visitor arrivals climbing 18-percent compared to the same month last year.

The Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) yesterday released statistics that covered the first quarter of FY ’12 that showed the islands experienced an overall 8 percent growth rate compared to the same FY ’11 period.

In total the NMI hosted 36,000 visitors in March and 198,000 so far this fiscal year.

China was the blinding star in the MVA’s numbers with a 157-percent skyrocketing increase for the month of March.

Currently the bulk of Chinese visitors originate from Shanghai and Guangzhou on 13 weekly flights.

Just two days ago Gov. Benigno R. Fitial announced a major effort to consolidate beach concessionaires into a single location in concert with an island-wide cleanup of seaside areas to improve their attractiveness.

According to MVA’s new master marketing plan unveiled in March, the governor seems to be right on the money.

A whopping 82 percent of Chinese visitors stated in exit surveys that they chose the NMI for its beautiful ocean and beaches.

Considering seven new Saipan Air flights starting this summer from Beijing and Shenyang may bring in some 50,000 additional visitors the government’s beautification effort seems perfectly timed to coincide with a new wave of Chinese tourists.

Visitors from the Korean peninsula also made a strong showing in MVA’s statistics.

Overall, arrivals jumped by double-digits for a second straight month to 33 percent.

Fueling the increase was the resumption of Asiana airlines flight from Busan that will double to two weekly flights beginning mid-June for the summer season.

Russian visitors were a third bright spot in NMI tourism.

Arrivals fleeing the frigid winter of eastern Russia posted a 6 percent gain for March and an 11 percent spike for the year-on-year comparison.

MVA was recently represented by travel partners at the Far East Russia travel fair and expect interest in the commonwealth to continue to expand.

Direct flights from the region are currently being negotiated to eliminate Russians having to fly through Seoul and Narita, which will increase visitors even more from the lucrative travel market.

The Japanese inbound tourist numbers experienced a decrease of 3 percent for March with a year-on-year drop of 10 percent.

Arrival numbers from the U.S. also struggled and plummeted 28 percent for the month of March and was down a full 15 percent for the same time period of FY ’11.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment