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Three percent drop blamed on limited air service

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Oct. 15, 2010) – The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI) reported 60 percent occupancy among its 13 member hotels for September 2010, a 3-percent decrease from September 2009.

HANMI said 48,227 of 80,580 available room nights were sold in September compared to 51,974 of 85,250 of available room nights sold over the same period last year. Room rates were nearly unchanged at US$87.53 during the month compared to US$86.03 last year.

"Limited air seats from Japan continue to negatively impact arrivals especially group business travel. On the other hand, both Korea and China continue to perform strongly, said HANMI chair Nick Nishikawa. What the Northern Marianas needs to receive more visitors is additional flights and especially more overseas promotion to fill those flights. Other beach destinations are investing much more funding than the Northern Marianas in their tourism promotions. We must do the same if we want to see tourism recover as Guam and Hawaii are now experiencing."

So far this year, hotel occupancy is at an average 64 percent, well below the healthy industry indicator average of 80 percent and only 2 percent higher than last year.

The Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands was established in 1985 as a professional forum for the hospitality industry of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

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