27 Apr 2005

Northern Marianas preparing to woo media accompanying Japanese Emperor

4:07 pm on 27 April 2005

Tourism officials in the Northern Marianas are preparing to take full advantage of the worldwide publicity likely to accompany the Japanese Emperor on his visit to Saipan in June.

The Visitors' Authority is preparing briefing packages for members of the Japanese media who are to fly in with Emperor Akihito for the two-day trip.

The authority's director, Vicky Benavente, plans to maximise any exposure.

"The Emperor's visit to the Northern Marianas, particularly the island of Saipan, is going to be a big boost to our tourism industry. The exposure of the island will be quite extensive. There'll be global media, international coverage... It's a very positive event for our island."

Ms Benavente hopes the Emperor's trip won't be disrupted by an eruption from the nearby active volcano.

US authorities currently classify ashfall from Anatahan Island as a hazard to air traffic.