86% of Okinawan view tourism as important, but only 29% say it has made their lives better

86% of Okinawan view tourism as important, but only 29% say it has made their lives better

Naha Airport crowded with tourists in May of 2017


July 24, 2018 by Ryukyu Shimpo


The Okinawa Department of Culture, Tourism, and Sports announced the results of their Okinawan resident tourism awareness survey July 23.

This is the first time the department has conducted such a survey on Okinawan residents.

When asked if tourism is playing an important role in Okinawa’s economy, 46.2% of Okinawan’s responded “Very Important,” with the same percentage answering “Fairly Important,” which combined indicates that 86.4% of Okinawan residents view the tourism industry favorably.

However, in response to a question asking if the development of the tourism industry has made your life better, those who disagreed outnumbered those who agreed.

Also, there were relatively more respondents who answered negatively to a question asking if they wanted more tourists to come to the area where they live.


The breakdown of how residents answered the question asking if they thought that tourism had made their lives better is a follows: 9.9% said “Strongly Agree,” 19.2% said, “Somewhat Agree,” 33.5% said “No Opinion,” 25.5% said, “Somewhat Disagree,” and 11.6% said, “Strongly Disagree.”


When asked if they wanted more mainland Japan and Foreign tourists to visit Okinawa, 74.1% said they would like to see increased visitors from mainland Japan, and 73.9% said the same for foreign visitors.

However, when asked a similar question was asked about the same groups coming to the towns and cities where the residents live, a relatively smaller amount responded favorably; 60.4% said yes for Japanese visitors, and 56.1% said yes for foreign visitors.


When asked if they were in favor of a tourism tax, 18.3% said, “Agree,” 33.5% said “Somewhat Agree,” 33.0% said, “No Opinion,” 8.3% said, “Somewhat Disagree,” and 6.1% said, “Disagree.”


Takao Kadekaru, head of the Culture, Sports, and Tourism department said, “I want people to understand that tourism is not just hotels and the like, and that it can broaden people’s everyday lives and provide real benefit,” indicating the importance of educating people of the economic effects tourism promotion can bring.”


The survey ran from January 22 through March 8, soliciting responses from 2,000 men and women between the ages of 17 and 75, for which is received 1,500 effective responses.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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