The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas saw a drop of nearly 30,000 tourists last year compared to 2004.
The CNMI had just over half a million visitors in 2005.
The Saipan Tribune says increasing arrival figures is a key challenge for the new administration of Benigno Fitial.
In his inaugural speech, he set a target of one million visitors a year.
The tourism industry fears the recent pullout of Japan Airlines will translate into an additional loss of over 100,000 tourists yearly.