SAIPAN, 08 NOVEMBER 2021 (MARIANAS VARIETY) — We have an issue, but it’s a good issue,” said Northern Marianas Gov. Ralph DLG Torres regarding the lack of hotel rooms to accommodate South Korean tourists.

“We cannot accommodate [everyone] who wants come here at this moment, but we are addressing that,” he said.

Through the CNMI-South Korea travel bubble agreement, the Commonwealth has seen a large influx of South Korean visitors and anticipates more for the remainder of the year.

Torres said the insufficient number of hotel rooms shows the high interest of tourists from South Korea.

The travel bubble agreement sets a limited number of hotel rooms for the hybrid quarantine hotel in the CNMI where the visitors remain for the first five days while they await their fifth-day Covid-19 test results.

After testing negative for Covid-19, visitors are then released from quarantine and moved to a corridor hotel.

Kensington Hotel Saipan is the hybrid-quarantine hotel for the travel bubble programme, while Saipan World Resort is the corridor hotel.

In consultation with Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther L. Muna and Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla M. Iakopo, CNMI Covid-19 Task Force chair and MVA board member Warren Villagomez said other options are being considered to address the limited number of hotel rooms.

Villagomez also noted that beginning today, Monday, 08 November, the Biden administration will lift some restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign travellers from over 30 countries.

The CNMI saw 784 visitors in September, over 2,100 bookings in October, more than 2,500 reservations for November and roughly 2,200 reservations for December, with all flights having a load factor of over 40%.

Two airlines, Air Busan and Air Seoul, have expressed interest in launching flights to Saipan.

The Commonwealth Ports Authority is looking at these requests to ensure that the CNMI has the capacity to accommodate additional flights under the travel bubble programme…. PACNEWS

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