Typhoon Yutu could knock back years of tourism gains in Marianas

6:35 am on 31 October 2018
Damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu

Damage caused by Super Typhoon Yutu Photo: Mark Rabago

The tourism industry in the Northern Marianas says Typhoon Yutu is likely to set back years of tourism growth.

The category five storm struck the islands of Tinian and Saipan on Thursday, causing widespread destruction.

The Northern Marianas Visitors Authority said several resorts had been damaged, including one that could be permanently closed because of the extent of damage.

Tourism is the territory's main economic driver, and the Marianas has been one of the world's fastest-growing tourism destinations -- it saw 18 percent growth in September alone.

But that's likely to be affected by the extent of damage.

Nearly 4,000 tourists have already fled the Northern Marianas since the typhoon.

The South Korean government flew most of its tourists out on military planes over the weekend.