Asia’s biggest business meeting held in Okinawa to attract airline companies worldwide
March 20, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
Asia’s largest airline business meeting “ROUTES ASIA 2017” (sponsored by UBM UK and UBM Japan) was held at the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City from March 19 to 21.
It is the first time the meeting has been held in Japan.
Tourism operators in Okinawa say they expect the meeting, which is the largest business gathering of its kind in Asia, will be an opportunity to promote the attractiveness of Okinawa tourism and Naha Airport’s second runway, which will be completed in 2020. They also said it would help link new airlines with Okinawa.
Airline routes decision-makers and tourism development staff from about 200 airlines and about 300 airport companies from around the world took part in the event.
Leading global airlines, including Finnair, Finland’s flagship carrier, and Etihad Airways, the United Arab Emirates’ flagship carrier, which are interested in Asian routes, sent staff members to the business meeting.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and Brand director of Routes from UBM group Steven Small were among those in attendance at the opening ceremony held on March 19.
Governor Onaga said in his greeting, “Having participants experience directly the nature and culture of Okinawa will, I hope, lead to new destinations connecting to Okinawa in the future.”
Director Small said to a Ryukyu Shimpo reporter he was convinced that Routes Asia being hosted in Okinawa would help the prefectural government, which aims to bring in 12 million tourists by the end of FY 2021.
“Routes” events are the world’s major business gatherings for launching airline routes. They have been organized every year since 1995 by UBM.
Every year, regional business meetings are held in Asia and North America. There is also a worldwide version, “World Routes”.
The prefectural government has been requesting to host “Routes Asia” in Okinawa since 2012.
“I visited Okinawa for the first time. Okinawa is a very attractive tourist spot,” said a participant who came from Singapore, and suggested investigating the possibility of opening a new route connecting to Okinawa in the future.
(English translation by T&CT)
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