Skymark revives optimism for CNMI tourism

Skymark counter at Saipan airport

Saipan— Over the years, the CNMI has been experiencing decline in visits from Japanese tourists, businesses and residents around the islands. Various campaigns around Japan are in full effect to attract Japanese families, couples and independent travelers to come back to their once-upon-a-time “vacation haven.”

Delta Airlines’ withdrawal of its regular flights from Narita, Japan to Micronesia including Saipan in May last year due to low demand in the market added to the already many challenges. Since the withdrawal, The Office of the Governor and the Marianas Visitors Authority have been looking for airlines and working on negotiations to find a carrier to service Japan to Saipan flights.

Skymark Airlines Inc. heard the call of the Marianas and after a year of negotiations and meetings, they launched their inaugural non-stop flight from Narita to Saipan last Nov. 29.

TASI Tours & Transportation, Inc. is owned by JTB Corp. the largest travel agency in Japan was established 43 years ago on Saipan with the aim to build and grow the Japanese market in the CNMI. According to president Masato Tezuka, they have seen the high and lows and the different seasons of tourism in the CNMI.

“We have seen all the eras — from the birth to growth, and also from a decline to the almost nothing. Since Japan Airlines terminated their fli