Elizabeth Sayers
Expectations of the Japanese Vistor Market to the Northern Mariana Islands

Bachelor of Applied Science, Honours Thesis, 2001

Supervisor: Dr. Dirk H.R. Spennemann



Cultural heritage (eco) tourism is a fast-developing aspect of the tourism industry. This research focuses on identifying the issues that island destinations in the CNMI face when introducing and relying on cultural heritage (eco) tourism as a tourism component. Island destinations are increasingly being forced to consider alternatives to sustain their economies and cultural heritage (eco) tourism is one option that provides potential respite from a dwindling tourist market.

The CNMI have undertaken steps to ascertain the viability of cultural heritage (eco) tourism for the island of Rota with the hosting of the Symposium, but no such research has been undertaken for any of the other islands, mainly Saipan and Tinian. This relatively low level of research, coupled with the low level of knowledge regarding the visitor expectations of the islands, highlight the importance of establishing who the visitor market is and more importantly, the specific expectations that they have. Without such information , the CNMI is unable to accurately market the islands to the visitors and therefore the ability to cater for their needs is reduced.

This research attempts to answer some of the questions regarding who visits the islands, their expectations and the level of knowledge that is held by the visitors regarding specific elements of the islands. These answers will then aim to inform the relevant government agencies about the tourist types and motivations, so that promotional and educational material can be targeted accordingly.