THE long-awaited travel bubble flight from South Korea that will bring tourists to the island will arrive Saturday, July 24.
The travel bubble agreement between the Commonwealth and South Korea was signed on June 30 to facilitate the safe resumption of air travel between the two jurisdictions.
Those who wish to travel between the CNMI and South Korea under the travel bubble agreement must complete vaccination against Covid-19 at least 14 days ahead of departure with vaccines approved and provided by their respective governments.
People are generally considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
Approved travelers must have remained in their country of embarkation for at least 14 days prior to departure.
Travelers under the travel bubble must travel on direct nonstop flights between South Korea and the CNMI operated by their national carriers.
The agreement is for group tours between the Incheon International Airport and the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport.
Other entry or exit points including Rota and Tinian may be added by mutual consent.
Travelers must also undertake a RT-PCR Covid-19 test within three days before departure and obtain a certificate of having tested negative for Covid-19 from the accredited laboratories by the health authorities of each country.
For the return trip, the South Korean and the CNMI governments will provide convenience for travelers to be tested for Covid-19 three days before their departure.
Upon arrival at each destination, travelers will be subject to an on-arrival RT-PCR Covid-19 test.
They will be exempt from quarantine and allowed to travel as long as they test negative on their on-arrival test.
However, travelers may be placed on a controlled itinerary as required by health measures of both destinations.
The next travel bubble flight is anticipated for next week Thursday, July 29.
As of Saturday, July 17, Asiana Airlines, Jeju Airlines, and T’way Airlines, which have been selected to participate in these travel bubble flights, had accumulated close to 60 passengers combined.
Also on July 17, the CNMI welcomed a group of roughly 40 visitors for a familiarization tour to promote the CNMI-South Korea travel bubble.
The seven- to 14-day familiarization tour was mainly organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority, which set aside a budget of $460,000 for the airlines, hotels, sights, and tours on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
A recent survey conducted in South Korea showed that South Koreans are yearning to travel, with 60% stating that they are willing to travel to the Marianas and stay for seven to 14 days.
All international arrivals will be required to undergo CNMI Covid-19 protocols, including testing upon arrival and on the fifth day, as well as being quarantined for the first five days in a government-designated facility.