No marketing campaign needed

WSJ on a piece of land that is 4% the size of the smallest US state:

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands — This U.S. territory in the western Pacific is known for its epic World War II battle, white-sand beaches and the enduring culture of its indigenous Chamorro people.

But for a certain class of Chinese parents, Saipan has become known as the latest hot spot for birth tourism, a place where women can give birth to babies who will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

The Northern Marianas, an island chain that includes Saipan, is the only U.S. soil that Chinese can visit without a visa, after a change in immigration policy in 2009 allowed Chinese and Russian tourists visa-free entry for up to 45 days.

“It’s just like if God opened a window for you,” said a Chinese father who works as a translator here after coming a few years ago to ensure his child would be born American.

The Northern Marianas pressed for the visa waiver to support an economy reliant on tourism, notably to Saipan’s casinos and gambling parlors. The number of Chinese visitors has risen substantially since 2009 and now represents 36% of tourists to the island, which is four to five hours’ flight from Shanghai and Guangzhou. Tourism accounts for 72% of Saipan’s economy.

Res ipsa loquitur. Bonuses on the plus side here and here. On the negative, here and here.

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