Casino closed indefinitely in Saipan after Yutu

THE closure of a major casino in Saipan shows how vulnerable the country’s economy is to extreme weather, the Northern Marianas governor Ralph Torres has said.

The category five Super Typhoon Yutu devastated the islands of Tinian and Saipan earlier this month.

In a statement, Imperial Pacific International said it closed its casino indefinitely after suffering millions of dollars in damage from the storm.

Governor Torres told the Marianas Variety two other resorts in Saipan have closed for storm repairs.

Saipan International Airport also took heavy damage, only reopening for commercial flights on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the average hotel occupancy rate fell 6 per cent to 75 per cent occupancy in October, according to figures from the Northern Marianas Hotel Association.

“I can’t really imagine tourists coming into an island that just suffered a category five storm,” RNZ Pacific’s Northern Marianas correspondent Mark Rabago said.

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