NMI hopes to create a travel bubble in Japan as early as December | New

The Commonwealth hopes to establish a travel bubble with Japan as early as December, Governor Ralph DLG Torres said on Friday.

He said he was happy that the Marianas Visitors Authority had considered establishing an investment program for the resumption of tourism in Japan, similar to that developed for South Korea.

The governor noted that Japan’s vaccination rate has improved, which is an important factor in establishing a travel bubble with the jurisdiction.

“I look forward to this. I also want to congratulate Japan for making progress in their vaccination,” he said.

The governor said he also hopes to see the return of Skymark Airlines flight to and from the islands, as well as to welcome other airlines interested in establishing a route between Japan and CNMI.

MVA will first have to inform the Japanese Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Health of CNMI’s intention to reopen this route.

The December target date is based on the current vaccination rate in Japan, said MVA chief executive Priscilla Iakopo.

“We were advised [by MVA Japan office] that December of this year is probably a good target date as vaccination rates in Japan continue to [accelerate], as well as how the Japanese government is monitoring cases there as well. We understand that the Japanese government has not been pushing to maintain any travel bubbles with any other destination yet, as it is really trying to get its Covid-19 cases under control there. Over the past few weeks, they have had over 20,000 confirmed cases per day, ”she said.

A TRIP-Japan ad hoc committee chaired by Hyatt Regency Saipan General Manager Nick Nishikawa was formed by the MVA Board of Directors to resume discussions with the MVA Japan office on how to establish a CNMI-Japan travel bubble.

“We wanted to start having these conversations because when we launched TRIP-Korea, it took us several months to get to where we are now. We just wanted to contact all of our travel partners in Japan, as well as our partners here, to start discussing creating a TRAVEL plan for Japan, ”said Iakopo.

The board has agreed that MVA will include CNMI Covid-19 task force chairman and MVA board member Warren Villagomez in these key discussions as it will be another government negotiation to government, similar to the travel bubble agreement between CNMI and South Korea.

“I hope we will understand where the Japanese government wants to go and the pace at which it wants to go, and then start making concrete plans for the reopening of the Japanese market,” TRIP-South Korea President Ivan Quichocho said. .

MVA board chairwoman Viola Alepuyo said it was important to aggressively push forward the travel bubble in Japan as early as possible, while CNMI has the advantage of to be one of the safest travel destinations in the world today.

“We only have one thing we can sell at the moment, and that’s how safe our community is. It is a marketing tool that no one else in our region can brag about. Let’s use this marketing tool and be aggressive in establishing the other travel bubbles so that we can attract tourists to stimulate our economy, ”she said.

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