(MVA) — Arrivals to Saipan, Tinian and Rota grew 752% percent to 1,107 visitors in September 2021, compared to 130 visitors received in September 2020, the Marianas Visitors Authority said.

South Korea, the Marianas’ largest source market prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, recorded 801 visitors in September compared to zero visitors last September. 

In July 2021, the Marianas garnered South Korea’s first travel bubble and implemented a tourism resumption investment plan to reboot the market. 

Since July the Marianas has received 961 visitors from Korea compared to 14 visitors over the same period in 2020.   Arrivals from South Korea are expected to continue to grow rapidly through the end of the year.

From the U.S., 164 visitors arrived, marking a 179% increase compared to September 2020,  and 108 visitors arrived from the neighboring island of Guam, a 13 % increase for the month.  A combined 34 additional visitors from all other destinations visited in September.

The Marianas has remained relatively unscathed during the pandemic due to strict Covid-19 safety protocols, including stringent testing and quarantine at all borders, a high vaccination  rate  of  83%  of  the  eligible  population,  and  overwhelming  community cooperation with mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing.

MVA is exploring the feasibility of implementing tourism resumption investment plans for Japan, Hong Kong/Taiwan, Australia, and neighboring parts of Micronesia.   Asiana Airlines, Jeju Air, and T’Way provide direct flights to Saipan International Airport from Seoul-Incheon. United Airlines flies daily from Guam.

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