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Breaking CNMI news...Russian and Chinese visa waivers are in Saipan
Wednesday, November 04, 2009 - 11:43 PM

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breaking CNMI news...Chinese and Russian tourists are IN !!!

Chamberonomics 131..from Russia with love

With federalization of the US Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands just over a month away, the Department of Homeland Security has advised NMI Delegate Kilili Sablan, that visa waivers will be extended to Russian and Chinese tourists.

This is huge economic news for the tiny US territory in the SW Pacific and may ease the uncertainty caused from the US labor and immigration takeover of the breathtaking beautiful, but politically troubled Marianas Islands.

The capital of the Northern Marianas Islands, Saipan, is an enchanting tropical paradise island of unimaginable beauty, highlighted by turquoise crystal water, fire red sunsets, panoramic views, endless beaches, and unparalleled weather.  Saipan's 10k+ voters host as many as 3/4 million tourists a year, entirely from East Asian, making Saipan a playground of seaside golf, sport fishing, snorkeling, wind surfing, kayaking, biking, beach volleyball, or barbequing on the pristine remote beaches.  The laid back nature of the inhabitants is as legendary as the tropical breezes.

The CNMI has been economically paralyzed in recent years.  Long the subject of labor abuses and international criticism, the once billion dollar yearly Saipan garment industry crumbled, with the last Saipan manufacturer closing in January of 2009.  Japan Airlines, who had previously flown 200k tourists per year to Saipan, stopped flying to the CNMI and virtually walked away from their 75 million dollar hotel amid complaints against the local government of gouging and corruption.  The local land alienation law expires in 2011, which could offer hope in the economic storm.

Two positive actions in recent years began to flourish in the CNMI.  The surprise explosion in visitors from eastern Russia, and opening our doors to the worlds fasting growing market, China, both of which puts us within hours of nearly a billion potential tourists and investors.

The denial of visa waivers from two of the world's largest and fastest growing markets was a cause for much uncertainty here.  A reversal of this regulations could open a wealth of opportunity in the CNMI.

Press release below.

Washington, DC — Chinese and Russian visitors will be able to enter the Northern Mariana Islands visa-free after November 28, 2009. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, informed U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan this afternoon that the Department has responded to the constant, continual conversation on this issue with her landmark decision.

“We got what we’ve asked for,” said Sablan. “We are successful".  “Russian and Chinese tourists will continue to come in to the Northern Mariana Islands after November 28. Everyone’s hard work has paid off.”

DHS announced that after November 28, Russian and Chinese tourists will be allowed visa-free into the Commonwealth. The visitors will enter under the “parole” authority of the Secretary of Homeland Security and will be able to stay in the Northern Marianas up to 45 days. The tourists will not be able to enter any other part of the United States.

In order to ensure the security of the borders the Department will examine flight manifests 72 hours before visitors depart for the Marianas, screening out criminals or persons on terrorist watch lists.

“I’ve been assured that all the necessary equipment to do the pre-screening and monitor visitor exits will be in place by November 28,” said Kilili. “I have been very concerned about the Department’s operational readiness, but I’m beginning to see some forward motion.

“I also think that we have to be sure that this capacity is also present for the Rota and Tinian tourist markets. This isn’t just about Saipan.”

Details of the Department’s plans to use the parole system will be worked out over the next weeks; and Congressman Sablan’s office will continue to monitor the Department’s decisions in this regard.

Kilili also offered thanks and congratulations all around. “First, I thank Secretary Napolitano for making this important decision. Chinese and Russian visitors account for 20% of our tourist dollars. The Secretary told me she ‘gets it’ about the economic impact. And today she proved that by her action.

“I also want to thank Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and his Assistant Secretary Anthony Babauta for supporting today’s action. Interior, too, is very aware of the economic importance of these tourists for the Northern Marianas economy and the business community.

“Our friends at the White House also were a big help in getting the State Department and the Department of Defense to sign off on Secretary Napolitano’s decision.

This development alone could signal a new era in the far islands, and spark econonmic recovery in the Gateway to the Orient, or the jewel of the Pacific.

Ron Hodges
Saipan Real Estate
670-233-1144 office
facebook - Saipan Real Estate

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