CNMI to partially reopen tourism at the start of 2021

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres (file photo)

The CNMI government is planning to partially reopen its borders to tourism at the start of 2021 starting with South Korea and possibly Japan — two of its source markets.

CNMI Governor Ralph Torres bared the CNMI’s plans during a Rotary Club presentation earlier today. He says that while they are making that step to reopen their tourism industry, they remain cautious to ensure that any resumption puts the health and safety of the community first.

“With the collaboration developed throughout this crisis, and with months of careful consideration, planning and needed caution from the Marianas Visitors Authority, the COVID-19 Task Force, and the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, I am excited to announce that we anticipate the partial resumption of tourism from South Korea to the CNMI in January 2021.”

He added: “This will be a “new normal” for our industry, one that will change the way we operate with new requirements aimed at keeping our residents safe as we bring back jobs, and a level of normalcy that has been disrupted in these trying months.”

Part of the effort to reopen the CNMI is establishing arrangements with airlines that service their source markets. According to Torres, the CNMI government is currently under negotiations with some of these airlines so they cannot disclose more information.

He said the protocol that they will be implementing for tourists would change the way they operate their hotels and facilities in the CNMI.

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Torres said this is still an experiment and that efforts were made several months ago to prepare the economy and the community.

Torres also provided updates on the CNMI’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan,

He said in preparation for the distribution sometime later this month, the CNMI secured 10 cold storage units and engaged with private clinics and pharmacies on messaging and encouraging the community to get vaccinated.

As of December 8, the CNMI is at 113 positive cases since March 28, 2020.