Asian media promotes Okinawan tourism, emphasizing its safety

Asian media promotes Okinawan tourism, emphasizing its safety

The China Times of Taiwan explains the appeal of Okinawa by covering the safety of foods in Okinawa.

May 25, 2011 by Takashi Hokama of Ryukyu Shimpo

“Let’s travel to Okinawa.” The media in Asian countries and regions such as South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, appear to be actively promoting travel to Okinawa.
In the context of a decrease in tourists to Japan after Great East Japan Earthquake, representatives of 41 media related companies from Asia visited Okinawa during the period from April 11 to May 23.
Most of the companies, which mainly covered radiation contamination concerns related to Japan’s nuclear power plants, were very clear in their reporting that Okinawa is totally safe.
The China Times, one of the four major newspapers in Taiwan, introduced the Naha-shi Kosetsu Ichiba (Naha City Public Market), which had not been reported to any great extent overseas before, emphasizing the safety of food in Okinawa by covering the abundant variety of food available there.

Okinawa is the first Japanese prefecture to welcome tourists from Hong Kong, which suspended tours to Japan soon after Great East Japan Earthquake.

The Okinawa Prefectural Government said, “We would like to erase from Okinawa the image of Japan as being dangerous. We think that media coverage could have flow-on benefits in the future.”
The Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB), which strives to attract tourists, said, “We would like to give the tourism industry a lift. It has been in a slump, so we hope to attract tourists from overseas in summer.”
Because of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the number of the tourists from overseas decreased by 44.4% (6700) to 8400 compared with the same month the previous year.
Working together with overseas travel companies and planning tours accompanied by media people, the prefectural government and the OCVB have tried hard to reactivate the tourism industry. The travel companies intend to work on new, innovative plans for Okinawan tourism in years to come.

While the number of the inbound tourists from Asian countries into Okinawa did not increase in April, a representative of OCVB said, “We intend to persist in using the media to convey the safety and appeal of Okinawa.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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