Okinawa aims to attract 7.6 million tourists in fiscal 2015

May 20, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawa Prefecture aims to attract 7.6 million tourists in fiscal 2015, up about 6% from last year, the prefectural government (OPG) said on May 19. The OPG made the announcement as it unveiled part of its “Visit Okinawa” tourism project for the year that runs through March 31, 2016.

Of the target figure, foreign tourists constitute 1.2 million, an increase of about 21% on the 980,000 who visited Okinawa last year. The target was originally set for fiscal 2016 under the plan, “Okinawa 21st Century Vision,” but the prefecture aims to achieve it a year earlier.

In order to achieve the goal, the OPG will strengthen tourism promotion activities both inside and outside Japan. It will also implement policies to promote tourism in its remote islands, train personnel for the travel industry, and enhance the hospitality infrastructure for visitors.

“We want to actively woo tourists from Singapore, where a new office is set to open in July. It will be one of the main hubs of our activities,” said Mitsuyuki Maeda of the tourism and sports promotion division of the prefectural government.

“We aim to steadily increase the number of domestic tourists we attract. We want to thoroughly implement programs including the ‘Shunka Shuto’ campaign that presents the beauty of the islands in different seasons,” he said.

The OPG expects to see up to 9.5 million domestic airline seats and 1.3-1.4 million international seats made available for travelers visiting Okinawa during fiscal 2015, about the same level as last year. Cruise ships are expected to make a total of 203 stops in Okinawa this year, 41 more than in 2014.

(English translation by T&CT and Miwa Murphy)

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