Record number of tourist visits to Okinawa in 2015 high season

October 21, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 20, Okinawa’s prefectural government publicized the number of tourists to visit the prefecture in the first half of the 2015 fiscal year (April – September). The number reached a record high of 4,093,000, exceeding the number of tourists during the same period last year by 9.7%. Foreign tourists, at 880,800, significantly increased by 63.9% on the previous year. The prefectural government estimates that by October, the number of foreign tourists will already exceed last year’s total of 980,000. It has determined the main causes for this upswing in tourism to Okinawa as owing to expanded foreign air routes, a greater number of dockings by large cruise vessels, and higher demand for travel both domestically and from abroad due to the Japanese yen remaining weak.

Partly as a result of typhoons, domestic tourism only increased by 0.6% this year to 3,212,200 visitors, remaining nearly average with last year’s. The prefectural government is aiming for 2015 tourism numbers to reach 7,600,000 (6,400,000 domestic and 1,200,000 foreign tourists).

The number of domestic and foreign tourists visiting in September reached a record high of 724,700, a 10% rise from September 2014. The number of tourists each month has exceeded that of the same month in the prior year for 36 consecutive months.

For September this year, domestic tourism increased 2.9% from the previous year to 575,100 people. Tourism from Tokyo rose 1.4% to 289,000 visitors, and tourism from Kansai rose 6.9% to 126,000 visitors.

The number of foreign tourists in September 2015 shot up to 149,600, 49.7% greater than in September 2014. Tourism from Taiwan grew 19.1% to 51,200 people; tourism from South Korea multiplied 2.1 times to 23,700 people; tourism from mainland China multiplied 2.7 times to 33,600 people; and tourism from Hong Kong increased 44.6% to 18,800 people.

(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)

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