OTS Supports Interpreter Guide from Abroad

July 31, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

The OTS Partners Network, which consists of about 200 businesses including tourism facilities and restaurants in Okinawa under contracts with the Okinawa Tourist Service (OTS), will invite 20 people studying Japanese language to Okinawa late August. The OTS, which is chaired by Yoshikazu Higashi, aims to attract speakers of Japanese to Okinawa to sit an exam to become local licensed guides. This is part of efforts to promote human resource exchange with Fuzhou, China. The 20 people will take an examination to become local guides to foreign visitors. According to Okinawa Prefecture, there have never been this many applications to sit the examination from foreigners. The OTS expressed interest in extending the project, saying, “if things go well, we would like to continue the project next year as well.”

The campaign to attract foreign applicants is expected to increase opportunities for people from abroad to work in Okinawa and to strengthen the tourism industry, which faces rapidly increasing foreign visitors.

OTS started the project with Eisho Higashihama WUB China CEO in 2014. One hundred applicants were reached through Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou University, and Xiamen Institute of Technology. Higashihama voluntarily provided 100 textbooks to the students to help them prepare for the examination. Based on the results of a mock exam conducted in February this year, 20 students were chosen to participate in an exam in Okinawa.

“Fujian and Okinawa have a historically deep relationship. We expect to build bridges of friendship through the students’ promotion of Okinawa to China,” says CEO Higashi.

The students will visit Okinawa from August 26 to 31 to take the local licensed guide examination. They will also visit the tourism sites including Shuri-jo, Fukushu-en Garden, and Okinawa Ocean Expo Park.

With the aim of increasing multi-lingual human resources in the prefecture, Okinawa Prefecture and Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau plan to host a careers event with tourism related companies on August 27.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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