21 Aug 2002

Marshall Islands wants to double the tourism numbers

1:35 pm on 21 August 2002

The Marshall Islands is hoping to double the number of tourists visiting the country if new air links can be established.

The chairman of the Tourism Association, Benjamin Chutaro, is in Honolulu this week, discussing the possibility of opening up new routes with Aloha Airlines to service Japan.

The association's vice-chairman, Bill Weza, says Palau currently gets far more Japanese tourists than the Marshall Islands.

Mr Weza says they're targetting Japan because a thousand Japanese divers have visited the Marshall Islands in the last year and that can be increased.

"we're hoping to double that thousand right off the bat. I think with the quality of the diving that we have in the Marshall Islands, and a good visitation to Japan,... doing some follow up work with the dive shops, I've already sent people, that the potential of having more divers, we could possibly double our business."

Bill Weza says it could take between six months to a year before new air links are in place.

Talks are also being held with Air Nauru.