Diving attracts foreign tourists to Okinawa

Diving attracts foreign tourists to Okinawa

Visitors to the Okinawa Booth in the Diving Resort Travel Expo 2013 on December 14. At the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

December 19, 2013 Wu Li Jun of Ryukyu Shimpo

The number of foreign tourists who visit Okinawa for diving is increasing. According to a survey carried out by the Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB), 5,177 foreign visitors experienced diving in the prefecture’s waters between January to September 2013. This was greater than the 3,691 who dived in Okinawa last year.

A breakdown of tourists coming for diving indicates that four locations in Asia accounted for more than 70 percent of the total. The number of visitors from Hong Kong was 1,406, twice that of last year. The number from Taiwan increased 1.9 times to 898, from Korea increasing by 1.3 times to 908, and from China increased by 1.4 times to 526. Tourists from countries such as Indonesia, Australia, Britain and Russia also visited Okinawa.

In order to attract foreign divers, since 2012 the Okinawa Prefectural Government and the OCVB have been actively taking part in diving exhibitions in Asia, the United States and Europe.

They have taken part 12 times in exhibitions such as the biggest diving tour expo in the Asia-Pacific region, the Diving Resort Travel Expo, and in the Paris International Dive Show. The latter event normally attracts about 50,000 visitors. From June 20 to 22 next year, they will hold the first Diving Resort Travel Expo in Okinawa at the Convention Center in Ginowan. An OCVB spokesperson said, “The number of foreign visitors who come to Okinawa for diving will definitely increase. We hope that more than 10,000 visitors will come in the next year.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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