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Still no ‘clear path forward’ for reopening of tourism industry

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“WE’RE in the 10th month of the impact on the tourism industry caused by the coronavirus, and there still isn’t a clear path forward as to the willingness of international travel and the demand for international travel to any destination, let alone the CNMI,”  said Matthew Deleon Guerrero of the Governor’s Economic Council of Advisers.

Since April, he said, the council has been putting together a tourism resumption plan that will also ensure the safety of residents.

He said they are also looking into the efforts of other jurisdictions that are developing “travel bubbles.”

 “That’s one of the areas that we’re looking at — this concept of a tourism corridor in which…tourists…are segmented…from the resident population to mitigate any [public health] risks,” he added.

He said this also involves testing upon departure and arrival. Moreover, travel is resumed only for countries that are designated by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to be “low-risk,” he added.

He said if there is “no additional federal assistance after [the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program], the economy would slowly start to lose resources, personal expenditures, consumption, and income that trickles through the different stores and through different people’s income sources.”

So there’s a need to ensure a continual flow of funds, whether it’s from federal assistance or from a partial resumption of the tourism industry, he added.

He said the council will continue working with CHCC to provide the governor with a “path forward.”

The council of economic advisers is chaired by Jerry Tan, president and chief executive officer of Tan Holdings Corporation. Its other members are Sen. Frank Borja; Rep. Joseph Leepan Guerrero; Alex Sablan of the Northern Marianas Business Alliance Corp.; Michael S. Sablan of Triple J; Bo Palacios, vice president, JC Tenorio Enterprises; Masato Tezuka, president, Tasi Tours; businessmen Joe Guerrero; Don J. Power, vice president, FPA Pacific Corporation; Marcie M. Tomokane, vice president/CNMI regional manager, Bank of Guam; Alex B.K. Youn, president, AC Pacific LLC dba Star Sands Plaza and I Love Saipan; Aubry Hocog, special assistant for programs and grants, Rota mayor’s office; and Gary Sword, owner, KKMP radio station.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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