NMI visitor arrivals down 12.5 pct in April

Visitors arrivals to the Northern Mariana Islands dropped 12.5 percent in April 2016 compared to April 2015. According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to the islands of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota registered 35,394 visitors in April 2016, compared to 40,473 visitors received in April 2015. Overall this fiscal year, visitor arrivals are 2.3 percent lower compared to the same period last fiscal year.
 
Arrivals from China increased 7.1 percent compared to April 2015 to 15,108 visitors, even as China’s outbound tourism market enters the low season. The MVA’s China office succeeded in hosting a major celebrity shoot, which generated $1.8 million in unpaid media exposure, as well as promoting the Saipan Marathon tour packages to boost the visibility of the NMI as a world-class sports destination. The MVA also collaborated with Dynasty Holiday to host several travel trade FAMs in April to allow key Chinese travel agents to experience the wide range of tourism resources on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota and develop new tour packages to all three islands.
 
Arrivals from Korea dropped 21.9 percent in April to 13,564 visitors. Asiana Airlines decreased its double daily service to one daily in late March but is expected to return to double daily service for Incheon-Saipan in the summer high season. Furthermore, arrivals from Korea are expected to increase with the commencement of direct flights from Seoul on June 9, 2016, by Korean Air’s low-cost carrier Jin Air.
 
Arrivals from Japan fell 29.3 percent to 4,269 visitors as the NMI continued to feel the effect of Delta Air Lines cutting its Narita to Saipan night flight in October, a move that dropped airlift from the Japan market to just one daily flight. Delta operated DL298 for 27 days, generating 4,563 seats. In addition to the Delta regular flight, Asiana Airlines operated three charter flights from Narita during April, generating 513 seats. In total, 5,076 seats were available, dramatically limiting arrivals from Japan. The MVA continues its negotiations with airlines in Japan to increase flight services from this major market and expects to be able to make a major announcement this summer regarding new service.
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