25 Nov 2016

Birth tourism soaring in CNMI

6:40 am on 25 November 2016

There has been a dramatic surge in the number of tourists having babies in the Northern Marianas in recent years.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation says 715 babies were born to parents staying in the CNMI as tourists, in the 20 month period from January last year to September 2016.

The Corporation's statistics office says almost all these babies - 95 percent - were born to parents of Chinese descent.

Our correspondent says the tourists want their babies born in the American territory so they can qualify for American citizenship.

The birth numbers have skyrocketed since the lifting of visa waivers for Chinese and Russian tourists in 2009.

In 2009 just eight babies were born to Chinese mothers.