Visitor arrivals to Saipan, Tinian and Rota were up 8% to 34,670 visitors in October 2019, compared to 32,108 visitors received in October 2018, according to the Marianas Visitors Authority.
Arrivals from Korea grew 30% to 20,185 visitors.
Korea is facing an economic struggle due to the trade war between Korea and Japan, declining exports, and, to a lesser extent, trade tensions between the U.S and China.
However, Asiana Airlines added a daily daytime flight beginning on Oct. 27 that will continue through late March 2020.
Also, T’Way Air will begin a second daily daytime flight to Saipan on Nov. 21, which will also continue through late March 2020.
Arrivals from China were 15% lower than they were last October, at 11,671 visitors in October 2019.
The market is suffering from continued tension in Hong Kong, which provides direct connectivity with the Marianas for the Pearl River Delta region in mainland China.
Hong Kong Airlines has suspended its service to and from Hong Kong, and the load factor of Hong Kong Express has also been negatively impacted.
The September 2019 reduction to only 14 days of CNMI-Only Parole for Chinese tourists to visit the Marianas has raised new concerns for the market. Furthermore, the exchange rate remained at high levels during the month, making it more expensive for Chinese visitors to visit the Marianas.
More Japanese visitors
Visitor arrivals from Japan jumped 46% to 487 visitors in October.
Skymark Airlines announced the commencement of regular direct flights from Tokyo-Narita to Saipan beginning Nov. 29, 2019, and the market is anticipated to grow exponentially over the year. Bookings for the new flights began on Nov. 1, with Skymark offering promotional rates starting at $38 one way plus fuel surcharge and tax.
Approximately 40,000 visitors are expected from Japan in fiscal year 2020, based on 80% load factor on scheduled flights; this compares to 12,000 visitors from the source market in FY2019.
Information was provided in a press release.