THE Commonwealth is willing to sign travel bubble agreements with its other tourist markets, but it will depend on their Covid-19 situation, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres said.
“I know that it’s not as easy to work with other tourist destinations because of their Covid-19 situations, but we are open to other destinations,” he added. “But at the same time, our priority is our public health and [the] safety of our community so we continue to monitor other tourist destinations. Once they have achieved Covid-19 herd immunity percentages, then it will allows us to move forward in signing a new travel bubble agreement.”
The CNMI has a travel bubble agreement with its primary tourism market, South Korea, which, according to Reuters, “is in the middle of its worst wave of infections, but it has kept the number of severely ill cases under control through steadily rising vaccination rates.”
Reuters also reported that South Korea “is drawing up a plan on how to live more normally with Covid-19, expecting 80% of adults to be fully vaccinated by late October…. The country has not seen a significant increase in coronavirus deaths, with a mortality rate of 0.88%, largely due to high vaccination rates among the elderly and vulnerable. Severe or critical cases stood at 387 as of Tuesday.”
In July, the CNMI hosted a familiarization tour for South Korean visitors that included representatives of major travel agencies and six media and social media channels.
The group spent five days at the designated hybrid quarantine resort, then visited Saipan, Tinian, and Rota after testing negative on the fifth day after their arrival.
Participants gave rave reviews of their trip, stating that they had felt safe despite the still raging global Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Marianas Visitors Authority, the total estimated advertising value of the media fam tour was over $117,000.
The crew of the TV travel show Eudiny, also part of the fam tour, remained in the CNMI for another week and will produce nine one- to two-minute video clips based on their trip, MVA said.