October 2015 visitor arrivals to the Northern Mariana Islands rose 11 percent compared to October 2014.
According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota registered 39,549 visitors in October 2015, compared to 35,587 visitors received in October 2014.
Arrivals from China jumped 22 percent compared to October 2014 to reach 16,981 visitors. The MVA participated in road shows in new Northern China markets, introducing the tourism resources of the CNMI to 300 travel agencies in Changchun and Harbin. Century Tours also held roadshows in Shenyang and Dalian, further boosting interest in travel to the CNMI in the key North China market.
Arrivals from Korea grew 14 percent in October to 14,370 visitors. Asiana Airlines operated an additional daily flight from Incheon to Saipan starting Oct. 25 using an Airbus A321 with 171 seats, which will provide an additional 5,000 seats per month out of the Korean market. The MVA has been working closely with the airline to boost sales during the winter season.
Arrivals from Japan fell 24 percent in October to 4,929 visitors. Delta Air Lines cut its Narita to Saipan night flight in October, dropping lift from the Japan market to just one daily flight and further deepening the crisis in the Japan market for the CNMI. In order to begin rebuilding the Japan market with Delta and other key airline and travel agent partners, the MVA is hosting a delegation of 50 Delta staff from across Japan for a familiarization trip to the NMI in December to focus Delta’s attention on the need to increase airlift to the NMI. The MVA is also working with Delta to launch a series of large-scale trade familiarization trips for major Japan travel agency staff to learn about the features that differentiate the CNMI from other beach destinations and encourage key Japanese tour wholesalers to increase investment in CNMI promotions. To reverse the drop in airlift from Japan, the MVA is adding new airlift development specialists to the team to secure the re-launch of Delta night flights, boost the number of Asiana charters from Osaka and/or Tokyo, and conduct in-depth negotiations with all target LCCs, including Air Asia, which is now actively evaluating new flights from Japan to the NMI.
Japan’s government lowered its assessment of the economy in October 2015 as output declined, in a sign that recovery is stalling as overseas demand weakens. During the month of October, the yen remained virtually unchanged against the U.S. dollar (120.03 yen).