Record 6,507,000 tourists visit Okinawa in the calendar year of 2014

December 20, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 19, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) announced the number of tourist visitations to Okinawa from January to November 2014. The number was 6,507,000, a new yearly record, exceeding 6,413,700 in the calendar year of 2013(from January to December 2013). This represents a 15.2 percent increase over the same period the previous year. A spokesperson for the OPG, said, “The number of tourists visiting Okinawa in the calendar year of 2014 will surely reach 7 million for the first time.” With tourism boosted by the cheap yen, the number of foreign tourists visiting Okinawa was up by 61.1 percent to 828,800 over the same period the previous year, setting a new record. This has contributed to the growth in the number of tourists visiting Okinawa this year.

The number of tourists coming from other areas of Japan from January to November 2014 was up by 5.5 percent to 5,678,200.

An expansion of air routes and an increase in the number of cruise ships visiting Okinawa boosted the number of tourists coming from in and outside of Japan.

Some Japanese people have refrained from traveling overseas because of the cheap yen. There has been high demand for travel to Okinawa from other areas of Japan.

A total of 564,500 people visited Okinawa in November, up by 9.9 percent over the same period the previous year. This is the 26th consecutive month in which the previous year’s figures have been exceeded. While the number of foreign tourists visiting Okinawa increased by 68.4 percent to 56,400, the number of domestic tourists visiting Okinawa was up by 5.8 percent to 508,100.

In November, the number of tourists from Taiwan, which accounted for the largest percentage at 30.5 percent of the total, increased by 79.2 percent to 17, 200. Those from South Korea increased by 2.2 times to 15,100.The number visiting from mainland China increased by 43.1 percent to 7,300.

The expansion of airline routes and an increase in the number of larger aircraft have contributed to the growth.

The number of tourists from the Tokyo area, which accounted for about 50 percent of the total, increased by 4.1 percent to 249,200 owing to the increase in group tours such as school trips. Those from the Kansai area were up by 10.6 percent to 94,800 because of the steady increase in the use of low-cost carriers.

(English translation by T&CT)

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