2 Feb 2011

Northern Marianas hotelier says they must cater for smoking tourists

8:44 am on 2 February 2011

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' Hotel Associaton says relaxing smoking regulations will be good for tourism.

The senate has passed a Bill increasing the number of rooms at each hotel from 20 to 30 percent, that can be designated as smoking areas.

Anti-smoking laws were only just finalised last year and the Commonwealth Cancer Association says the move is a step backwards and didn't give the new legislation a chance.

But Nick Nishikawa, the chairman of the Hotel Association, says it's essential to the Northern Marianas' economy to keep tourists happy.

"This island, 80 percent of the tourists are from Asian countries, such as Japan, Korea, and China. Then out of 80 percent maybe 70 percent of the tourists are smokers."

The Bill is still to be considered by the House.