Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 16 Oct 2019 12am

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    Monday, October 14, 2019-7:56:07A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Tourism official justifies Japan promotional budget

THE Marianas Visitors Authority board chairwoman on Monday justified the $2.25 million budget for the marketing and promotional program in Japan in fiscal year 2020.

Marian Aldan Pierce

“I think the board has always taken the position that we need to work harder in Japan to rebuild the market after we’ve lost it,” Marian Aldan-Pierce said.

The MVA board also approved $2.07 million for South Korea; $1.82 million for China; and $250,000 for Taiwan.

She said MVA is hosting several seminars, travel fairs and other promotional events in Japan. “The cost is high,” she added.

MVA Deputy Managing Director Judy Torres said the promotional events they are conducting in Japan help maintain the CNMI’s “presence” in what used to be its primary tourism market.

MVA board member Jerry Tan said although Delta Air Line suspended its Japan-Saipan flight service in May 2019, the CNMI remains committed to the Japanese market.

Torres told Variety that Skymark Airlines, which is based in Tokyo, will provide three chartered flights to Saipan from Sept. 20 to 22.

In a separate interview, MVA marketing manager Thomas Kim said the three flights are fully booked and each flight is expected to have 180 passengers.

He said they are hoping that Skymark will begin its regular flight service to Saipan in November.

Aldan-Pierce said Skymark wants to make sure that there will be “no glitches.”

“Understandably, they want to make sure their systems are working before they even decide to come here,” she said. “That tells us that once they start, they may be in it for the long term.”

She said that positive things will happen soon, adding that a top executive of Skymark is scheduled for a joint interview with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres next week for the December issue of Skymark’s in-flight magazine.

She noted that Skymark has 150 domestic flights.

“You can see the commitment that they have for the CNMI,” Aldan-Pierce said, adding that Skymark has already secured a space at the Saipan airport and its staff members have been flying to the island every week to prepare for their Saipan flight service.