15 Mar 2011

CNMI worried about tsunami impact on tourism

4:18 pm on 15 March 2011

Tourism authorities in the Northern Mariana Islands are worried about the impact of the Japanese tsunami on visitor numbers, with cancellations already reported.

The Marianas Visitors Authority says there have already been six cancellations for a triathlon event being held this weekend, and they're expecting more cancellations for leisure travel from Japan.

Japan is the CNMI's largest tourist market, and the authority's managing director Perry Tenorio says it's impossible to gauge the long term impact on the industry.

"We're very concerned, more so considering that tourism is the sole economic driver for the CNMI at this moment in time so any further decrease from visitor arrivals from Japan would have an immediate impact on the bottom line as far as revenue earning opportunities for the islands. But also there is a calamity there and we understand what people need to do to help their country recover from this as quickly as possible."

Perry Tenorio says after the Kobe earthquake in 1995 visitor numbers picked up again after about four months, but this disaster also involves a tsunami and nuclear meltdown.