Lunar New Year tourists enjoy shopping sprees in Okinawa
February 9, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
By Wu Li Jun
The Lunar New Year began on February 6, and many Chinese and Taiwanese tourists are visiting Okinawa as a result. Tourists have been flooding into large-scale shopping malls, adding to the liveliness Products on their checklist include home electronic appliances and cosmetics. As a result, a large-scale shopping mall in Chatan has made a 20 percent year-on-year increase in sales. In addition, the takings from tax-exempt products in department stores within Naha City has increased from last year. According to officials, three large cruise ships will be making trips to Naha Port on February 13. This will lead to more aggressive spending by overseas tourists.
At Chatan AEON Shopping Mall, measures have been taken in order to accommodate the influx of Chinese tourists. For example, they have set up a special section to sell about 300 types of products, which are especially popular among tourists during the Lunar New Year. According to Ryukyu AEON Shopping Mall located in Haebaru Town, the average consumption amount (unit price) per overseas visitor ranges between 15,000 and 20,000 yen. However, when it comes to medicine and cosmetics, the price spent per person rises to between 40,000 and 60,000 yen.
At San-A Naha Main Place, the consumption amount (unit price) per overseas tourist ranges between 20,000 and 30,000 yen. Last year, expensive home electronic appliances, such as rice cookers, sold well. This year, beauty products such as dryers, which are around 20,000 yen on average in unit price, are making major sales. Store manager Kazuto Ohshiro said, “Seven large cruise ships will be making trips to Naha this year during the Lunar New Year period.
That’s a lot more compared to last year, when there was only one trip. We expect to see more customers as a result.”
Ryubo Department store has seen a slightly increasing in the amount spent on tax-exempt products during the first three days of the Lunar New Year than last year. It expects its sales to grow from the middle to the end of the holiday period. One representative commented, “Ever since we extended the range of consumption tax-free products from October 2014, we have seen a steady increase in the amount spent on tax exempt products. Now that we’ve entered February, we have managed to double the takings from such products per week, compared to what we had last year.”
Kai-Xiang Zhang, a 21-year-old Taiwanese tourist visiting Okinawa for the first time said, “Thanks to the weak yen, I was able to buy many medicines and cosmetics. I don’t have any budget limit set aside for shopping on this trip, so I’d like to go ahead and buy more things.”
(English Translation by T&CT, Kaya Doi)
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