Visitor’s arrivals from Japan and the United States are starting to make a comeback.

Tourism Fiji chief executive Jo Tuamoto said figures had improved over the past three months.

He said the new service provided by Continental Micronesia would play a major role in accelerating visitor numbers and enable even more American and Japanese visitors to visit Fiji. Mr Tuamoto applauded Continental Airlines Micronesia decision to start direct services to Fiji.

He said the move was a major boost for the national tourist office’s aspirations in the US and Japan.

“We are obviously delighted with the news and the potential it offers our tourism industry from both of these major visitor source markets,” he said.

“Both services have been scheduled to feed directly into existing services the airline operates with its parent carrier, Continental Airlines, from a variety of ports within the US mainland and several Japanese cities.”

Mr Tuamoto said this represented a major boost for Fiji’s tourism industry after what had been a slow start to the year for visitor arrivals from both the United States and Japanese markets.

Figures released by Tourism Fiji showed that arrivals from the US for the first four months this year stood at 17,968 compared to 25,552 for the same period last year.

There were 7514 Japanese visitors in the first four months of 2009 compared to 8178 last year over the same period.

China provided 4389, up from 4157 in the first four months of 2008.

Mr Tuamoto said Continental Micronesia would operate state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800 aircraft on both routes.

He said flights ex-Guam would operate into Nadi every Monday and Friday, departing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Flights ex-Honolulu will operate into Nadi on Mondays and Fridays, returning to Honolulu on Tuesdays and Saturdays.