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Narita tourists greeted by President Toribiang

By Jose Señase SAIPAN, CNMI Islands (Marianas Variety, Dec. 30, 2010) - Delta Airlines made its inaugural flight to Palau on Wednesday last week.

More than 100 tourists and officials arrived from Narita, Japan and were greeted by Palau President Johnson Toribiong, Delta Airlines representatives and other dignitaries.

Toribiong said the flight heralds the opening of "another gateway for the country’s tourism" and indicates more progress for the local economy.

"This flight opens Palau to more tourists. The succeeding operations of the airline will be a big boost to our tourism industry in particular and our economy in general since tourism is our main industry at this time," he said.

Delta earlier said that it will bring more than 25,000 visitors to Palau annually.

Melson Miko, community and support services manager of the Palau Visitors Authority also commended Delta Airlines.

"It could mean more tourists coming here, especially from Japan," he said.

Previously, tourists from Japan had to fly via Guam. Japan Airlines offered charter operations, but these had been suspended.

Delta Airlines will be serving the Palau route four times a week using a 216-seat Boeing 767-300ER passenger jet with 35 business elite and 181 economy seats.

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