Business leader says 2,000 people will be given opportunity to work in Henoko if hotels are built instead of US base

Business leader says 2,000 people will be given opportunity to work in Henoko if hotels are built instead of US base

Chokei Taira, the president of the Okinawa Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (OCVB), said in his lecture, "Tourism is a peace industry," at Okinawa International University on February 20.


February 21, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Chokei Taira, the president of the Okinawa Convention & Visitors‘ Bureau (OCVB), delivered a lecture titled “Rethink about the future of Okinawa and the tourism industry” held on February 20 at Okinawa International University.

Taira stressed the position of tourism as a peace industry. He said, “We would like to make use of Okinawa’s geographical advantage to promote business, not seeking to preserve military power. Military bases are the biggest obstructive factor in developing economic growth in Okinawa.”

Taira said, “For example, a quick bit of maths tells you, if hotels with 2,000 rooms [instead of a new U.S. base] were built in Henoko, employment opportunities for about 2,000 local people (direct and indirect hire) would be created; the annual sales would reach 50,000,000,000 yen. We would like here to be a dream-inspired place.”

“Okinawa has enough conditions to develop as a tourism prefecture. Okinawa follows the growing trend of global tourism, having a geographical advantage and the potentiality of a growing population. These are the driving forces to promote the tourism industry,” Taira explained.

He added, “About 200 million people reside within a 3,000 kilometers radius and about 300 million people live within a 4,000 kilometers radius. We have a massive potential market.”

Taira said, “We have been discriminated against even after Okinawa returned to Japanese sovereignty. We can overcome the discrimination, but now more seriously we are completely discarded. We have to clear the path for the future, becoming as one.”

(English translation by T&CT)

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