The CNMI's tourism industry saw slight gains in September with a 5-percent jump in visitor arrivals and a major influx of Japanese travelers linked to the expansion of airline services from Tokyo to Saipan.
According to a new report by the Marianas Visitors Authority, tourism statistics for the month reveal that 27,650 travelers arrived in the CNMI up 5-percent on the same period last year.
The authority said the Japanese tourism boost was due to added flights from Tokyo's Narita Airport.
The increase comes despite a severe drop in the number of Korean visitors coming to Saipan due to recent declines in the value of the Korean won when compared to the U.S. dollar,and increased airline ticket prices.
The MVA says Korean visitor arrivals fell 22 percent in September, down from 8,605 in the same month last year to 6,697 now.
September marks the close of MVA's 2008 fiscal year which saw tourist arrivals increase overall by 1,398 visitors to 396,487.