CNMI: July 15 tourism reopening still ‘a moving target’

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Press Secretary Kevin Bautista emphasized that the reopening of the CNMI will be public health and stakeholder-driven.

While the CNMI is planning to open its doors to tourism in less than a month, officials say that the July date is just a moving target.

Last month, the CNMI government announced its COVID-19 recovery plan and part of the plan is to reopen the CNMI to tourists by July 15.

During a press conference this week, officials are saying that the date is not set in stone. Patrick Guerrero, the CNMI Governor’s designated representative, said no airlines have committed to flying into the CNMI other than United Airlines. Hotels are also not committed to reopening just yet.

Meanwhile, Press Secretary Kevin Bautista emphasized that the reopening of the CNMI will be public health and stakeholder-driven.

“One of the biggest focuses is to make sure that we also ensure that when a tourist is arriving here, that they, on their end, do all of the necessary precautionary measures to meet our standards here in the CNMI, both on a public health perspective, as well as for the long term viability of the overall economy,” Bautista said.

Bautista says the government is also planning to establish a tourism bubble with other countries to jumpstart the industry.

“But at the same time too — one of the biggest things — making sure that we find a date where we can actually agree on the reopening of tourism — is the establishment of the safe tourism corridor,” Bautista said.

He added: “Right now, we are starting with South Korea. The Governor and the Council of Economic Advisors have been working closely with the South Korean government to establish a travel bubble between South Korea and the CNMI.”

Bautista and the other officials assured that the CNMI government will not move in an impulsive manner and that the reopening will be “very deliberate.”

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