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By Lindablue F. Romero

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (December 15, 1998 - Saipan Tribune)---The Northern Marianas will see an increase in the number of visitor arrivals from Japan this holiday season as a result of Japan Airlines' promotional campaign to help save the sagging tourism industry.

This early, all JAL regular flights from December 23 to January 10 are already fully booked as Japanese escape the harsh winter season and spend the holidays on the island.

Likewise, its four remaining chartered flights from Nagoya to Saipan using a Boeing 767 aircraft are already assured of full capacity. Two earlier flights arrived on December 4 and 11.

At the same time, JAL's in-flight video focusing on the CNMI as a golfing destination will be shown in April 1999 to some 100 million passengers on all its international and domestic flights.

Famous female professional golf player Hiromi Kobayashi will be featured in the video as part of the promotional campaign to entice Japanese tourist to come here and spend a few days playing golf.

The Japanese government has yet to respond to JAL's petition for a two percent reduction in air fare of its flights to the CNMI.

With its huge investment on Saipan, JAL has remained committed to help increase visitor arrivals on the island amid the downturn in international travel due to Asia's financial crisis.

Businesses on the island have expressed concern that although Japanese will still travel abroad, they will, however, be very cautious in their spending, drastically reducing the revenue of most shops that cater to tourists.

The airline will launch its "JAL-Saipan Campaign" in January 1999 as part of its promotional effort and is targeting some 12,000 visitors from Japan. Some $210,000 will be used in the three-month campaign, which includes giving of gifts to lucky travelers. Aside from this, participating wholesalers will produce 800,000 copies of brochures to be distributed in various cities in Japan.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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