NMI readies to welcome visitors from Korea
The Northern Mariana Islands has dates when it can expect visitors and knows which airlines will bring them.
Jeju Air is due to start with the first of its weekly flights on the Seoul-Saipan route on July 10. The low-cost carrier is also looking at Guam and Singapore as destinations, according to Journal files.
Asiana Airlines is due to begin flying on the Seoul Saipan route on July 17, also with a flight already scheduled for July 24.
Low-cost carrier T’way Air has not yet received approval from the Korea Civil Aviation Safety Authority to fly to the NMI.
The NMI government’s Tourism Resumption Investment Plan, or TRIP for the Northern Mariana Islands calls for tourist visitors to go into a “single designated hybrid quarantine resort, where they will be allowed use of the facilities.”
PIC has already been identified as the preferred resort due to its options for visitors, according to Journal files.
The resort must formally be awarded the bid.
Whether the airport will be able to offer travelers refreshments is also not yet formalized.
Kimberlyn K. King-Hynds, chairwoman of the Commonwealth Ports Authority, told the Journal on June 22, “All of this is going through an RFP process.”
Also uncertain is whether DFS Saipan will open the T Galleria at the Francisco C. Ada Saipan International Airport. King-Hinds said she thought DFS was at least looking at the possibility of re-opening.
Flights on the Guam-Saipan route continue, with fully vaccinated travelers between the two destinations able to avoid quarantine, for which there is an approval process in Guam and in Saipan.
According to the plan, visitors will still be required to take a PCR test upon arrival and again after five days quarantine at the resort. “Visitors will need to show a negative PCR test before leaving the quarantine resort and will thereafter continue to stay within ‘corridor hotels’ on Saipan, Tinian, and/or Rota,” the plan said.
King-Hinds said visitors will not be able to stay at PIC or the resort and then leave. Packages to be sold will not have that option. “You can’t leave Saipan after the fifth day,” she said. The idea is to incentivize visitors to stay in other hotels in Saipan, Rota or Tinian. Korean visitors in the past typically took trips of about five days.
DPHSS guidelines for vaccination tourism not yet final
The Guam Visitors Bureau’s vaccine tourism plan “Air V&V” still does not have the Department of Health and Social Services guidelines. Janela B. Carrera, public information officer at DPHSS told the Journal, “I’m not sure when that’s coming out.” She said that attendees at the June 24 economic forum may be updated. “We should have some more information by Thursday, Carrera said on June 22.
The forum will be held from 8 a.m. to noon “to discuss Guam’s reopening date, vaccine tourism program, essential tools for reopening such as a QR code for proof of vaccination, WTTC & Guam Safe Certified, and the survey results from the University of Guam COVID-19 survey.”
Carrera said that Chima Mbakwem, acting chief public health officer, is due to represent DPHSS at the forum.
Despite the lack of DPHSS guidance, visitors wishing to get vaccinated in Guam are arriving. According to the A.B. Won Pat International Airport, Guam a private plane brought five passengers to the island on June 16. Carrera said such visitors are finding a way to get to Guam.
When the program gets approved, Carrera said the intent would be to vaccinate tourists at their hotels. “We were trying to bring the vaccine to them. They would come in with a negative test,” she said. “These are all the details that are being worked on.”
Carrera said the latest addition to arrival regulations is the addition of the option of a declaration of full vaccination for a secondary form of full vaccination confirmation. Travelers are advised to check the latest information and requirements at www.dphss.guam.gov.
The Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority announced June 22 it was awarded 87 Section 8 Emergency Housing Vouchers from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. GHURA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Guam Homeless Coalition to assist with the: (a) identification and certification of eligible individuals/families; and (b) making referral to GHURA to be eligible for permanent housing.
The Guam Homeless Coalition will also host the “Give Hope Telethon” on June 24, from 4p.m. to 8p.m. The online event can be viewed at its Facebook page facebook.com/guamhomeless and donations can be made directly to its website, www.guamhomelesscoalition.org The “Give Hope Telethon” will feature “interviews with local leaders, providers, and non-profit partners sharing the different ways their agencies assist those experiencing homelessness.” The evening will also feature a panel discussion comprised of coalition members, local entertainment, and the premier of Father Francis X. Hezel’s documentary about homelessness in Guam, “Heart but No Home.” The event has a goal of $15,000 and all donations through June 27 will count towards the goal, according to a June 22 release.
Pacific Islands Club Saipan re-opened the waterpark on June 19, according to the resort, and will be open on Saturdays and Sundays. A Waterpark Combo is available, with lunch at Majellan Restaurant at the resort. For more information call (1-670) 234-7976. The Seaside Grill is also open from Thursday to Saturday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to PIC Saipan.
The 300-plus room hotel is not taking guests, and maybe chosen as the site of the “designated hybrid resort.” Warren Villagomez, chairman of the NMI COVID-19 Task Force told the Journal on June 11, PIC had been identified as the resort, but the resort will have to complete an RFP.
The Guam Chapter of the American Red Cross still has booklets for sale for its Dine for the Red Cross fundraising effort.
Chita A. Blaise, CEO of the Guam Chapter told the Journal that by popular demand the program has been extended to Aug. 31 to redeem meals.
For $200, the booklet contains vouchers for six meals at either Ruby Tuesday’s, Meskla, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Red Lobster, Lone Star Steakhouse and/or Beachin’ Shrimp.
On a day when Guam avoided a major storm, Blaise said, “It’s so important to have this fundraiser.
Bank of Hawaii will celebrate Juneteenth by allowing employees to pick which day they take off during 2021, according to a June 19 release, since the new holiday fell on a weekend when many of its branches are open. mbj