Survey indicates Okinawa’s popularity among tourists from Asia

January 19, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 18, the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) released an interim report from a survey of tourists from eight locations in Asia. In general, many of them would like to travel on what is often termed the “Golden Route,” the route between Tokyo and Osaka, and then travel on to Hokkaido. Okinawa was mainly popular with tourists from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. A recognition survey carried out with Taiwanese and Hong Kong tourists indicated that Okinawa was one of the five most attractive destinations for those who have never been to Japan, along with Tokyo and other parts of Japan. At the same time, Okinawa ranked fourth as the
Japanese tourist spot that Hong Kong tourists would like to visit in future.

The DBJ surveyed people in eight locations including Beijing, Shanghai and Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It will submit suggestions for each region of Japan for attracting tourists on a sustainable basis.

The recognition survey for tourists who had never been to Japan (multiple answers allowed), revealed that 77 percent of Taiwanese tourists answered that they knew of Okinawa. The Prefecture was one of the most popular locations, following Hokkaido with 84 percent, and Tokyo and Mount Fuji with 79 percent. The survey revealed that 61 percent of the Hong Kong tourists knew Okinawa. The number followed those for Hokkaido, Tokyo and Mount Fuji, Osaka. Fifty-six percent of Beijing and Shanghai tourists knew Okinawa along with 45 percent of Korean, 40 of Thai and 39 of Malaysian, 33 of Indonesian. The survey of tourists who have been to Japan previously, revealed that Okinawa came in tenth on the list of the most popular tourist destinations for people in Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The survey revealed that 29 percent of Hong Kong tourists surveyed who have not visited Japan, responded to the effect that they would like to travel to Okinawa, with Okinawa coming fourth on the list of most popular tourist destinations for them, following Tokyo which recorded 42 percent, Hokkaido with 46 percent and other regions. Twenty-four percent of the Hong Kong tourists, who have visited Japan (once), answered that they would like to visit Okinawa, and Okinawa came in fifth on the list. At the same time, 36 percent of Taiwanese tourists surveyed who had not visited Japan answered that they like to visit Okinawa in future. Okinawa did not measure up to Hokkaido with 66 percent, or Tokyo and Osaka which both registered 45 percent, despite having a high profile among Taiwanese tourists. While the numbers of respondents from Korea, Beijing and Shanghai who have never visited Japan were low, 12 percent of Korean tourists and 27 percent of those from Beijing and Shanghai answered that they would like to visit Okinawa.

The DBJ surveyed a total of 4000 tourists, including 500 male and female respondents aged between 20 to 59 years old from eight Asian locations who responded to an Internet survey at the end of October of 2012. Half of the Korean and Beijing tourists surveyed had never visited Japan. Seventy percent of the Thai tourists and more than 80 percent of the Malaysian and Indonesian tourists surveyed had never been to Japan.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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