16 Dec 2005

Northern Marianas to lose a large percentage of their Japanese tourists after flights dropped

2:09 pm on 16 December 2005

The Northern Marianas are expected to lose over a hundred thousand Japanese visitors following the pullout of Japan Airlines' regular flights to Saipan.

The Saipan Tribune reports this would result in an economic loss of as much as 37-million US dollars and more job losses in 2006.

The Strategic Economic Development Council, says the 29-percent decline would mean a loss of more than 109-thousand tourists for the CNMI.

The Hotel Association of the Northern Marianas Islands chairwoman, Lynn Knight, says it is a crucial time for the economy and there is a need for up-to-the-minute information so people can plan strategies and work closely with government leaders to improve tourism.

HANMI also says the Marianas Visitors Authority's 5-point-9 million dollar budget serves as another challenge to the tourism industry.

The Association says destinations such as Guam and Hawaii are spending as much as 10 times that amount to promote themselves.