NMI tourism revenue losses: $50.5M and counting

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THE islands’ only industry — tourism — has already lost $50.5 million or more in gross revenue due to the continuous cancellations of flights in light of the global Covid-19 outbreak, Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands president Gloria Cavanagh said on Wednesday.

This means a $92.5 million loss in on-island expenditures, an $11.5 million loss in gross revenue tax collections, and a $3.7 million loss in hotel occupancy tax collections, she added during her presentation at the Workforce Resource Fair.

Cavanagh said the hotel occupancy rate is now down to 19.3%.

With continued cancellations in the Korean market and now the Japan market, the numbers are expected to further plunge, said Cavanagh, who is also the Marianas Visitors Authority board vice chairwoman.

Marianas Visitors Authority vice chairwoman Gloria Cavanagh, right standing, speaks before representatives of hotels and other local businesses at the multi-purpose center on Wednesday.  Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

For the Japan market, she said the projected arrivals in March is 6,243. Even if 100% of these visitors arrived, Cavanagh said this would result in a 36% hotel occupancy only.

“It is actually unreasonable to think that we are going to have 100 percent,” she said, referring to the projected arrivals.

Cavanagh also shared the cost-cutting measures that HANMI hotels are implementing in response to the downward trend in tourist arrivals.

She said some hotels are closing towers, wings or category rooms; some are reducing food and beverage operations, including restaurants; some are shutting down amenities such as swimming pools and water parks; most have reduced work hours; some are mandating employees to take paid leave; and others are asking employees to take an extended leave without pay.

One thing that the HANMI hotels have not done yet is lay off employees, she said, adding that this could happen soon.

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