Domestic tourism on the rise

CNMI businesses tap the too often ignored local market

Saipan— Over the years, tourism has been the main economic driver for the CNMI. Attracting visitors from neighboring Asian countries such as Japan, Korea and China has always been the main focus of the industry stakeholders. But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world last year, the CNMI was compelled to close its border.

With foreign tourists shut out of the commonwealth islands, the focus shifted to the only market that businesses currently have: the local residents. While implementing Covid19-related protocols, businesses have changed their approach and rebranded to cater to the local crowd.

The international brand Bubba Gump, an instant tourist attraction in Garapan, reopened in July last year after being shuttered for four months.

“People used to say that Bubba Gump was expensive. I say it might have been in the past, but we are now in the future. We are designing our menus and prices based on local consumption rather than tourists,” said Robert H. Jones, chairman and CEO of Triple J Enterprises. “It has been tough in the last few months. But we want to make a statement today that we want to put prices based on the regular