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Northern Mariana Islands(CNMI): Economic Impact of Tourism

The economy of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has been heavily reliant on tourism, with large-scale tourism serving as a primary driver of economic activity. The CNMI’s real GDP increased by 28.6% in 2016, following two years of relatively rapid growth in 2014 and 2015, largely due to the strength of its tourism industry. Chinese and Korean tourists have become the primary visitors, supplanting Japanese tourists. The tourist industry now employs around half of the workforce, and the islands are noted for their beautiful beaches, with resorts offering various activities such as jungle walks, windsurfing, fishing and golfing.

However—the full effects of the pandemic cannot be quantified in the CNMI’s statistics, as the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified. Exports of goods and services, largely consisting of visitor spending, decreased by 74.4%. The islands’ economy benefits substantially from financial assistance from the United States, and the rate of funding has declined as locally generated government revenues have grown.

The islands received substantial funding for capital development, government operations, and special programs, with an equal local match. The islands’ economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and the islands have made efforts to diversify their tourism offerings and attract visitors from a broader range of countries.

The islands’ economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and the islands have made efforts to diversify their tourism offerings and attract visitors from a broader range of countries. Therefore— the economic impact of tourism in the Northern Mariana Islands has been substantial, with the industry serving as a primary driver of economic growth and employment. However, the recent decline in tourism due to the pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of the islands’ economy to external shocks, emphasizing the need for diversification and resilience in the tourism sector.

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Featured Reports

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