26 Sep 2007

Northern Marianas visitor numbers on the slide

6:48 pm on 26 September 2007

The CNMI visitors authority says visitor numbers have declined by nine percent this year compared to last year.

Most visitors to the territory are from Japan, followed by South Korea and China.

Under a Five-Year Strategic Plan for Tourism, the territory hopes to attract 750 000 each year by 2011.

The visitors authority director, Perry Tenorio, says visitor numbers have plummeted substantially this year.

"Today, comparing fiscal year 2006 to 2007, we are pretty much for all source markets, we are down by nine percent. We welcomed 410 025 visitors last year, and for this year, to date, we have just welcomed 369 108 visitors."

Perry Tenorio says this is due to a decline in the numbers of Japanese visitors, caused by fewer flights to the territory.

Japan Airlines pulled out of the CNMI in 2005 and Mr Tenorio says the market is suffering from that loss.

The South Korean and Chinese markets have both grown.