As many as 60877 Japanese travelers go abroad from Naha Airport in 2012

As many as 60877 Japanese travelers go abroad from Naha Airport in 2012

Number of Japanese travelers going abroad from Naha Airport.


April 10, 2013 Wu Li Jun of Ryukyu Shimpo

According to the Ministry of Justice, the total number of Japanese nationals going abroad from Naha Airport in 2012 was 60877, the highest total since 2006. With a number of new international routes opening in 2012, it can be said that demand for foreign air travel has grown, a trend driven mainly by Okinawan local people.

The newly opened routes are, one to mainland China on the Beijing-Naha route flown by Air China, two to Taiwan using the Taipei-Naha route flown by TransAsia Airways and the Taizhong-Naha route flown by Mandarin Airlines, and a route to Korea provided by the low-cost airline Jin Air. The opening of these routes sees the passenger capacity of international flights out of Naha Airport increase to 854548, up 44.6 percent compared to 2011.

The number of Japanese nationals going abroad from Naha Airport in 2006 was 50757, but then dropped to 41716 in 2008 because of the worldwide recession. In 2011, while domestic travel flattened out following the Great East Japan Earthquake, overseas travel grew strongly and the number of international departures increased to 55589.

Yoshikazu Higashi, the president of the Okinawa Tourist Service, said, “In the short-term, there are concerns that the weak yen and the Senkaku Islands dispute will negatively affect the number of Japanese tourists going overseas, but the increase in incoming and outgoing flights at Naha will boost numbers in the long run.”

Huang Yuan Yua, the Okinawa Office Manager of China Airlines, which has run the Taipei-Naha route since 1969, said, “In future, support from the Okinawa Prefectural Government to airlines will be very important in order to increase the number of Japanese nationals going abroad. Not only is support for inbound tourists important, but support for outbound tourists is also essential.” He pointed out that to maintain and develop international routes it is necessary to expand demand both to and from Okinawa. In addition to this, he suggested that, “holding foreign travel fairs is also a good way of encouraging Okinawan people to travel abroad.”

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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