LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- As two international flights from China arrived at the Saipan International Airport till Tuesday and more from China, South Korea and Japan are scheduled to land in coming two days, the island reopened door to oversea tourists after the destructive Super Typhoon Yutu.
Sichuan Airlines's charter flight arrived at the Saipan International airport at local time 3:10 am Tuesday morning, carrying 255 passengers from Guangzhou of China. They were greeted at the airport with a welcome banner by Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) staff, who also handed out shell leis to every passenger.
"It was great seeing the second batch of tourists coming in early this morning," MVA marketing manager Thomas Kim, who was among the MVA staff who welcomed the visitors, told local Saipan Tribune newspaper.
Kim said the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is definitely back on track to meeting the expected numbers of arrivals for the months of December and onwards.
Saipan is located in the Northern Mariana Islands, officially the CNMI, which is an insular area and commonwealth of the United States consisting of 15 islands in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
HK Express was the first commercial airline to resume international flights to the island which was slammed at the end of October by Yutu, one of the strongest typhoons in history. The Saipan airport was badly damaged in the storm and unable to provide service to international flight since then.
Besides of the two flights from China which had landed with a full load of more than 430 passengers, China Eastern Airlines will resume flights Wednesday from Beijing, Beijing Capital Airlines will arrive at the island Thursday from Hangzhou, and Hong Kong Airlines will resume flights Thursday from Hong Kong as well.
Commonwealth Ports Authority (CPA) board committee for airport operations chair Barrie C. Toves was quoted as saying that the authority was happy that the Saipan airport resumed night-time operations faster than prediction and the move will help the island's economy.
He admitted that the commuter terminal building at the Saipan airport is still in disarray because of Yutu' s fury, while CPA is just trying to repair all the damage and get back to normal operations.
The Consulate General of China in Los Angeles issued a notice on Wednesday, reminding Chinese tourists to CNMI should think over the risks there, including natural disaster, dangerous outdoor recreation, poor healthy service, criminal incident, illegal working opportunity, narcotic problem, limited transportation capability and others.
According to the consulate, more than 200,000 Chinese tourists visited the island in 2016.