Okinawa Prefecture envisions becoming a cruise hub as “The Caribbean of the East”

Okinawa Prefecture envisions becoming a cruise hub as “The Caribbean of the East”

(from the left) Remco Buis, Paul Chong, Governor Takeshi Onaga, and OCVB chairman Chokei Taira announcing the cruise initiative. March 30, Okinawa Prefectural Office


March 31, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo


Okinawa Prefecture announced “The Caribbean of the East Initiative,” March 30, as part of a plan to make Okinawa into an East Asian cruise hub.

The initiative would develop a “Fly & Cruise” system that would make Okinawa into a location where travelers from all over the world would fly into Okinawa, the board cruise ships that would take them to the outlying islands in Okinawa and other locations in East Asia.

The prefecture is looking to establish themselves as a major port in Asia by attracting collaborators with economic partnership Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with other major Asian ports such as Xiamen in China and Kaohsiung in Taiwan.


According to figures calculated for 2017, 515 ships visited ports in Okinawa, however only as a way-stop, meaning the increase in visitors did not translate to increased visitor spending.

If Okinawa were to become a departure point for ships, the time visitors spend as well as their consumption is expected to grow.


The initiative would develop a cruise industry departing from Okinawa that would link China, Southeast Asia, and the domestic ports of Japan.


Cruises that depart from hubs like Miami and make excursions around the Caribbean to location like Havana deploy state-of-the-art ships and have established process for CIQ (Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine), allowing them to commissions ships all over the globe.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, who announced the initiative, said, “‘The Caribbean of the East’ initiative will spread interest globally, which will lead to additional cruise ports.

This will lead to investment in new terminals, and world-class resorts.”


The first step in the initiative in 2018 will be to strengthen PR for Okinawa to attract cruise-ship companies.

The second step in 2019 will be to sign MoUs with cities in China and Taiwan, to further attract cruise ships.

The initiative also looks to realize an Okinawa-based cruise industry that travels to the southwestern archipelago.

The third step in the initiative, from 2020 onward, will be to encourage private investment in Hirara Terminal and Shimojishima Airport to develop the “Fly & Cruise” strategy.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


Go to Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]