JAPANESE TOURIST MARKET DROPS 50 PERCENT IN CNMI - July 17, 2007'

admin's picture

JAPANESE TOURIST MARKET DROPS 50 PERCENT IN CNMI

By Gemma Q. Casas

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, July 17) – The Marianas Visitors Authority says Japanese tourists remain the islands’ primary market but the government is lowering its tourism share to 50 percent starting this year as there is only one international airline serving the Japan-Saipan route.

Before Japan Airlines pulled out its 14 weekly flights between Tokyo and Saipan in late 2005 nearly 400,000 Japanese tourists visit the islands, accounting for more than 70 percent of travelers to the destination.

This year, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial’s target from Japan will be just 200,000 tourists.

MVA Managing Director Perry Tenorio said it’s unfortunate that the downtrend from Japan continues but the harsh realities of limited air seats must be recognized.

"The relaunching of the Osaka Service in Dec. (by Northwest Airlines) is wonderful news for us. Unfortunately (we still don’t have enough air seats). But we will continue to work with our partners. That’s always our goal," he said.

"I think MVA chairman (Jerry Tan) has stressed many times that Japan will continue to be our primary market and we will continue to develop that," he added.

Fitial flew several times to Japan since his inauguration in 2006 in hopes of convincing international carriers from the country to serve the Saipan route.

Analysts said the demand among Japanese travelers to visit Saipan remains but limited air seats serving the route is a major problem.

Tenorio said the governor will continue to ask Japan-based carriers, including JAL, to consider serving the Saipan route.

This year, total tourist arrivals are projected to reach just 393,000. Of the figure, 50 percent are from Japan; 20 percent from South Korea; 19 percent from China; 1 percent from Russia, and; 10 percent from other secondary markets.

At its peak in 1997, CNMI hosted more than 700,000 tourists, mostly from Japan.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment