Record 6.58 million tourists visited Okinawa in fiscal 2013

Record 6.58 million tourists visited Okinawa in fiscal 2013

The trend of tourist arrivals to Okinawa

April 22, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 21, the Okinawa Prefectural Government announced the number of tourists who visited Okinawa from April 2013 to March 2014 was 6,580,300, a new annual record. This represents an 11.1 percent increase from the previous year. It exceeded the previous record of 5,934,300 set in fiscal year 2008 by more than about 650,000. The total number of domestic tourists visiting Okinawa increased by 7.4 percent to 5,953,100. The total number of international tourists increased by 64.0 percent to 627,200. Both numbers hit new records high.

The increase in domestic trips by Japanese people and the rising travel demands from foreign customers because of the cheap yen boosted the number of tourists coming to Okinawa. The opening of a new airport in Ishigaki and the launching and extending of domestic and international routes by low-cost carriers also contributed to the growth. The Okinawa Prefectural Government had set a target of 6,300,000 tourist arrivals for the 2013 fiscal year, and has successfully achieved this goal.

Many airlines have launched direct flights between the main islands of Japan and Ishigaki Island after the new airport opened. On top of this, the opening of routes by low-cost carriers increased the total number of domestic tourists who visited Okinawa.

The number of tourists visiting Okinawa from Tokyo increased by 7 percent to 2,969,000. Those visiting from Kansai increased by 15.3 percent to 1,182,000, while 713,800 tourists came from Fukuoka, a 2.4 percent increase. The number of tourists from Nagoya increased by 5.6 percent to 479,300.

There were three new international routes: Taipei-Naha, Busan-Naha and Shanghai-Naha. The number of weekly flights at Naha Airport in 2013 was 70, a 42.9 percent increase from the previous year. The number of tourists from Taiwan increased by 70.1 percent to 254,100 and they formed the largest group of overseas tourists. Korean tourist numbers more than doubled to 98,400, and 92,400 tourists came from Hong Kong, an increase of 64.4 percent. Tourists from mainland China increased by 16.6 percent to 68,700.

(English translation by T&CT and Lima Tokumori)

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