The Saipan Chamber of Commerce held its second annual economic forum, beginning with a stark reminder.

“We are in crisis mode. This is not a surprise to anybody,” said Joshua Wise, the Vice-President of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. 

Wise described the circumstances as the storm before the calm. He announced “Operation 500k,” an effort to reach 500,000 arrivals for the industry to break even.

“Even if every single plane operated at a 100% capacity, which we all know is unlikely, the standard that we use is an 80% return, which basically will allow us to achieve almost 320,000 arrivals, which we saw earlier that's not even half of what we had in 2017 at 653,000,” he said. 


What they hope for is for the CNMI to receive unlimited flights from China and enhance the visitors authority’s budget, among other efforts. The gloomy picture got darker with each presentation.

“Hyatt is just the tip of the iceberg…This summer will determine closures. Whether or not they are temporary or permanent are the only questions,” said Marianas Visitors Authority’s Board Chair, Gloria Cavanagh. 

Secretary of Finance Tracy Norita gave the government’s financial outlook.

“Our cumulative shortfall there is $4.1M. We are monitoring this shortfall…and should we be reasonably certain that we might not meet the overall forecast we will be preparing a revised budget,” said Norita. 

Guam Chamber of Commerce Chair, Ernie Galito shared some of the efforts on Guam.

“One of the things that we are looking for in Guam is that we want to transition from a GRT tax to a sales tax. The reason why we want to do that is the sales tax is more visible to the consumer,” said Galito. 

He also had this message to share amid the economic woes. Galito added that conferences present a lot of ideas. 

“Conferences do not usually produce solutions. Hard work does,” he said.