Resort weddings at record high for five consecutive years, with 15,000 couples last year

March 24, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On March 23, the Okinawa Prefecture Culture, Tourism and Sports Division announced that 15,399 couples had Okinawa resort weddings in 2016, a rise of 8.6 percent from the same period last year and the highest number in five consecutive years. The number of couples from Japan was 13,532, which was a 6.4 percent increase on the same period last year. The number of couples from overseas, which was 1,867, increased by 28.1 percent. Approximately 237,000 tourists visited Okinawa for resort weddings bringing an estimated 22.4 billion yen to the local economy. Both numbers hit a record high.

“Location photo (Photo wedding),” in which a couple takes photographs in nature spots such as the beach has been popular. The Okinawa Prefecture determined that the number of domestic visitors who chose Okinawa as a resort site without the need for a passport is increasing. Meanwhile, concerning overseas customers, increased recognition of “Legal weddings”( to be married based on local laws) has contributed to the boost.

“Chapel Wedding,” in which a couple has a wedding at a chapel was the most popular, accounting for 70 percent of the total number of couples. Photo wedding, in which a couple takes photographs only, accounted for about 30 percent. Legal weddings are carried out in 11 municipalities, with 141 couples in Yomitan Village being the largest, 107 couples in Onna Village, and 60 couples in Kunigami Village. Although it is still as low as 3 percent, the demand for beach weddings, restaurant weddings, and uninhabited island weddings is also increasing.

By region, domestic applicants from the Kanto region are the largest at 30.9 percent, followed by Kinki region at 20.2 percent, and the Chubu region at 16.7 percent. As for overseas, Hong Kong accounted for the largest number with 57 percent, 29.4 percent from Taiwan, 7.6 percent from China, and 2 percent from Korea. Onna Village and Yomitan Village accounted for 43 percent of the total number of ceremony locations, followed by Chatan Town, Nago City, and Itoman City.

The survey was open to 62 affiliated enterprises in the prefecture dealing with resort weddings, and the figures of 55 companies who answered were collected.

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana) 

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