Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 19 Oct 2018 12am







    Thursday, October 18, 2018-10:07:12A.M.






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MVA officials support separate NMI visa-waiver program

MARIANAS Visitors Authority board chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh said they support the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp.’s proposal for a separate CNMI visa-waiver program.

“We want China to be a visa-waiver country and not just for parole,” she said, adding that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can take away the parole program at any time.

Cavanagh said China comprises 35 percent of the CNMI’s tourism market. If the parole program is removed, the CNMI would be in trouble, she added.

At present, the CNMI is included in a visa-waiver program with Guam, but “we want to have a separate program,” she said.

MVA Managing Director Chris Concepcion said having a separate CNMI visa-waiver program is feasible.

He said the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp.’s proposal is very important, and that MVA and other stakeholders in the tourism market should support it.

“China is the critical market,” he said, but added that they want to include other countries in the CNMI visa-waiver program like the Philippines so that Manila-Saipan direct flights can resume.