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Koreans flocking to Northern Marianas as tourism returns

The Northern Mariana Islands had a surge of visitors last month as the lifting of pandemic restrictions has led to more international flights.

Nearly 10,000 visitors arrived in the islands, compared to 551 visitors in August 2021.

About 8,100 of the tourists came from South Korea, up from only 94 in the same month a year earlier.

RNZ Pacific correspondent Mark Rabago said the flood of Korean tourists was due to China shutting down its borders.

"Because our number one market before was China and China shut itself down because of Covid-19. So, the second market was Korea."

The Northern Marianas also received 148 visitors from Japan in August 2022, compared to only one visitor in August 2021.

Rabago said the currency exchange is expected to go up for the Japanese yen and businesses are expecting more tourists next year.

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