By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Saipan--The suspension of Asiana Airlines’ flights to Saipan in November last year took its toll on the Korean market, according to the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The association today reported a 30 percent average occupancy rate among its 11 member hotels for November 2023, compared to a 22 percent average occupancy among 13 hotels in November 2022.
A total of 20,681 of 69,444 available room nights were sold during November 2023, compared to 15,625 of 72,264 available rooms sold in November 2022. Average room rates were $128.99 compared to $139.53 last November.
Asiana Airlines paused its Saipan service following the Commonwealth Ports Authority’s move to raise its fees. The airline resumed the flights on Dec. 20.
“The month of November was tough,” said Dennis Seo, acting chairman of the hotel group. “The temporary suspension of Asiana Airlines’ flights from Seoul throughout the month was one of the factors that froze the recovery of visitor arrivals and tourism."
Winter holiday peak season began in mid-December.
However, Seo said while holiday arrivals may boost the numbers, the tourism landscape remains stagnant.
"It is still very clear that for full recovery, the Marianas needs market diversification, a third major source market to augment Korea and Japan,” he added.
Hotels included in HANMI’s monthly statistical report are Aqua Resort Club, Aquarius Beach Tower, Century Hotel, GrandVrio Resort Saipan, Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Kanoa Resort Saipan, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Saipan World Resort, Surfrider Resort Hotel, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan.