Record 7.76 million tourists visit Okinawa in 2015

January 22, 2016 Ryuyku Shimpo

On January 21, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) announced the number of tourist visits to Okinawa in the calendar year 2015. The number was 7,760,000, representing a 10 percent increase over the previous year and reaching a new high for three consecutive years. The number of foreign tourists increased by a considerable 68.8 percent over the previous year to 1,501,200. Meanwhile, the number of tourists coming from other areas of Japan virtually stagnated with a rise of just 1.6 percent, up to 6,261,800, due to the effects of typhoons. Mitsuyuki Maeda, Manager of the OPG Culture, Tourism and Sports Division, said, “The continuation of a weakened yen, the expansion of overseas airline routes, and increased porting of cruise ships have contributed to the considerable increase of foreign tourists.”

The number of tourists from Taiwan, which accounted for the largest number of foreign tourists, increased by 38.0 percent to 474,900. Those from China increased 2.5 times to 296,500. Visitors from South Korea increased by 92.1 percent to 297,900. Those from Hong Kong increased by 54.2 percent to 189,700.

The number of tourists coming from Tokyo remained unchanged from the previous year at 3,062,700. Those from Kansai increased by 5.4 percent to 1,310,500. Those from Fukuoka increased by 6.7 percent to 777,000. Those from Nagoya increased by 0.1 percent to 491,300.

For the 2016 forecast, Division Manager Maeda said, “We expect to compete with other tourist sites in Japan. Because of the expansion of routes by airline companies, the domestic travel market will steadily change. The number of foreign tourists will also build on solid growth due to the expansion of airline routes and increased porting of cruise ships.”

The number of tourist visits to Okinawa last December was up by 11.7 percent to 613,600 over the same period the previous year. Domestic tourists were up by 0.2 percent to 485,300, and foreign tourists were up by 98.3 percent to 128,300.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana) 

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