Visitor arrivals up 51% in January

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(MVA) — According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, arrivals to Saipan, Tinian and Rota increased 51 percent to 55,686 visitors in January 2020, compared to 36,878 visitors received in January 2019. Visitor arrivals in January 2019 were low due to the residual reduction in air service following Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018.

Arrivals from China decreased 2 percent to 18,425 visitors in January, supported by the Chinese New Year holiday period during the second half of the month. Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, three direct flight services from Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou to Saipan announced suspension in late January. All direct flights from China to the Marianas were suspended in February as a public health precautionary measure and due to decreased demand.

Due to the suspension from China, MVA is working to strengthen its marketing and promotions in Korea and Japan. Arrivals from Korea grew 111 percent year-on-year in January 2020 to 30,648. T’Way Air is operating a second daily daytime flights from Seoul Incheon to Saipan through late February 2020. On Jan. 1, 2020, Asiana Airlines upgraded their aircraft service from Seoul Incheon to A330 equipment with 298 seats, continuing through late March 2020.

Visitor arrivals from Japan grew 522 percent to 3,927 visitors in January as the result of daily, direct flights launched by Skymark Airlines in November from Tokyo-Narita to Saipan. Skymark is offering promotional rates starting at $38 one way plus fuel surcharge.

One ship arrival on Jan. 3 brought in 1,791 visitors, mostly from China.

Source markets economic highlights

The South Korean economy expanded at the slowest pace in a decade in 2019, largely weighed down by an extended slump in outbound shipments amid a lengthy trade row between the United States and China. Korea’s tourism industry is expected to take the hardest hit among local businesses from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus as citizens cancel their overseas trips.

Due to the novel coronavirus, 10 cities in China including Wuhan, neighboring Huanggang and Ezhou have been locked down, suspending buses, subways, ferries, and shutting the airport and train stations to outgoing passengers. The country is mobilizing medical teams from Shanghai, Guangdong and other cities to fight the virus in Wuhan. In addition to that, the travel and tourism industry is also taking measures to participate in the fight.

Japan’s consumer price inflation rose to 0.8 percent year-on-year in December 2019 from 0.5 percent in the previous month, above market consensus of 0.4 percent.

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