The developer of a soon-to-open casino on Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has revealed plans to launch a new high-speed ferry service linking the island with neighboring Saipan.
The Sand Diamond, measuring almost 50 meters in length and with capacity to carry 290 people and more than 30 cars, will begin daily sailings between the two ports before the end of this year as a means of providing better tourist access.
It will operate under the lease of Bridge Investment Group (BIG) which is currently developing Tinian Casino, scheduled to open in 2Q20. Tinian Casino is the first phase in a master plan for the Wyndham Hotel & Resort, the largest tourism and hospitality investment on the island.
Much like Imperial Pacific’s troubled Imperial Palace‧Saipan, construction of the facility has been delayed by around a year with BIG having previously planned a March 2019 launch. Once open, Tinian Casino will offer 20 gaming tables and 80 slots plus VIP accommodation and a fine dining restaurant.
“The launch of the Sand Diamond will cater to the large demand for Saipan visitors to experience Tinian and all the entertainment options it offers, including the Tinian Casino,” said Danny Ewing, Director of Operations for the project’s US-based casino consultants, Clear Management. “Previously the only access to Tinian has been by plane.”
Wyndham Senior Vice President Acquisition and Development, David Wray, added, “Wyndham Hotel Group, as the international operator, is excited to see this latest commitment by the owners and developers of the Wyndham Hotel & Resort Tinian.
“The introduction of this luxurious fast ferry service will open up to the world the treasures of Tinian and the opportunity to experience one of the world’s most beautiful islands.”
Tinian Casino is one of two casino developments on Tinian to have been announced in recent years, although it is currently the only one making any positive progress.
Alter City Group, which was awarded a license to develop a US$1.2 billion integrated resort, stalled on the project after breaking ground in 2016 and has since had its license suspended for failure to meet its required annual payments.
Meanwhile, existing property Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015, remains closed with liabilities of over US$250 million and an outstanding US$75 million fine for money laundering violations.