Resort Weddings increase to 8189 in Okinawa

Steadily growing number of customers from overseas

March 17, 2011, Ryukyu Shimpo

According to figures released by the Okinawa Prefectural Government Department of Tourism, Commerce & Industry, 8189 couples were married at resort hotels in Okinawa last year. This represents a 2.0% increase (143 couples) over the previous year, 2009, with the number of couples from overseas, especially from places such as Taiwan or Hong Kong, now on an upward trend.

Although the number of such couples getting married in Okinawa decreased in consecutive years for the first time in 2009 due to the economic downturn and the new strain of influenza virus, it subsequently rebounded, reaching the second highest figure since statistics began to be compiled in 1999, next to that for 2008 (9001 couples).
The statistics are based on a survey conducted with 61 companies promoting resort weddings, 33 of which submitted responses.

The number of customers from the main islands of Japan increased by 1.0% (78 couples) to 7984. Centered on those from East Asian regions such as Taiwan and Hong Kong, the number of overseas customers increased by 46.4% (65 couples) to 205.

Taiwanese and Okinawan companies worked together to promote weddings in Okinawa. These efforts paid off, with the number of Taiwanese customers increasing 3.6 times to 59.

According to the Prefectural Government, 180000 people, a figure that includes the invited guests, visited Okinawa for resort weddings. Based on the calculation that each person spends 66000 yen within the prefecture, Okinawa’s total revenue from resort weddings is estimated to reach at least 14.5 billion yen.

Those carried out in Christian-style chapels are by far the most popular option, accounting for about 90% of wedding ceremonies. Those carried out against a backdrop of Okinawa’s beautiful blue seas are understandably on an upward trend.

Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Okinawan prefectural authorities have revised the target figures for the “Visit Okinawa Plan,” designed to promote tourism of Okinawa, down from the 10000 couples for resort weddings previously expected.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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