Okinawa tourist arrivals hit 10 million beating record for seventh-consecutive year

Okinawa tourist arrivals hit 10 million beating record for seventh-consecutive year

File photo, Okinawan tourism.

January 24, 2020 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefecture Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports announced on January 23 that the prefecture welcomed 10,163,900 tourists in 2019, a 3.2% increase (or 316, 200 visitors) from the previous year.

The record growth in tourist arrivals for a seventh consecutive year, albeit the drop in visitors from Korea amidst a worsening Japan-Korea relationship, is attributed to the increase in cruise ship port calls, healthy travel demands over the long holidays, and the opening of the new Shimojishima Airport Terminal.

The prefecture welcomed 10,004,300 visitors during the 2018 fiscal year (April 2018-March 2019), surpassing the 10 million mark in one calendar year (January-December) for the first time ever.

Of all the visitors, 7,233,900 were domestic tourists—a 4.2% (290,000 visitors) increase year on year; 2,930,000 were international tourists—a 0.9% (26,200) increase, a record-breaking year for both.

Japan’s Golden Week holiday became an unprecedented 10-day holiday last year due to the national transition to a new imperial era, and for the first time ever, over 600,000 domestic tourists visited Okinawa prefecture in April alone.

The new Narita-Shimojishima flight route also boosted travel. By region, Okinawa received the most visitors from Tokyo at 3,4796,100 (a 2.7% increase year on year), followed by the Kansai region at 1,479,200 (a 5.9% increase).

Internationally, tourists from Taiwan were the most numerous at 939,700 visitors (5.6% increase year on year).

Sea and air routes between Taiwan and Okinawa were added, and visitors exceeded 900,000 for the first time ever.

China came in second at 754,200 (a 19.3% increase) which was the greatest year-on-year increase.

From Korea, only 380,000 visitors traveled to Okinawa, a 31.5% decrease year on year; a drastic drop from the record 550,000 visitors in 2018.

The prefectural government anticipates a continued increase in visitors in the 2020 Olympic year, as Naha Airport is scheduled to launch its second runway and the prefecture will host Tourism EXPO Japan 2020.

International flight routes to and from the China region and cruise ship port calls are expected to increase as well.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

Go To Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]