The island of Rota and its people need help — some enthusiasm creative thinking and support for the situation that is keeping visitors from the island.
Rota — and the Rota Resort & Country Club and the island’s other tourism-related businesses — have much to offer Japanese tourists. The island and its people are aware of the importance of tourism to their economy and — despite typhoons and a constant and rapidly changing flight schedule — have developed a special welcome and a list of attractions that are unique.
Right now the island of Rota and its 3 000 residents need help. The island is not completely cut off — but a flight schedule that is remarkably unattractive to visitors is having an effect on numbers.
All of us can understand that the prospect of not one but two customs inspections and a Transportation Security Administration inspections to get to the island is likely to be given a thumbs down by travelers with limited days and other alternatives.
At this time tourists who wish to get to Rota have a number of flights on Cape Air that will take them there — but must travel from Saipan to Guam to get to Rota. The arrival times of some of the flights — the early hours of the morning — are not the most appealing either.
Cape Air is trying to juggle the needs of all the islands in the Marianas within its schedule it says and that’s an understandable overview.
Still the resort — the island’s largest employer and a conduit to other visitor-related businesses — and its new owner are trying to find solutions.
All the “My Marianas” advertising in the world won’t help an island that doesn’t have the flights to back up its genuine appeal. It’s time for Cape Air Freedom Air local authorities and the government of the Northern Mariana Islands to step in as well and help the island.
What will it take to get Rota the right flights and traffic that it needs? Tax concessions? Reduction of landing fees for Rota? A bigger promotional budget and marketing campaign aimed specifically to boost Rota as the island recovers its market share?
The island has already lost a chance at the PGA golf name that Buena Vista promised as the resort’s management company. The parties with a vested interest in Rota and its people should act now before the island loses anything else.