Okinawa to provide more multi-lingual diving guides

May 16, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

In fiscal 2014, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) will work on a project to train people who speak foreign languages to become diving guides.

The OPG aims to equip job seekers who can speak foreign languages with the diving expertise and skills needed to safely guide tourists.

Consulting with diving shop owners, the government plans to recruit eight people by August.

With the aim of producing qualified diving instructors, the government will carry out training courses. They hope the project will contribute to human resource development and increase employment in Okinawa. The OPG will recruit candidates through unemployment offices from June.

Participants will get a diving guide license and become nationally licensed marine divers at the end of the training.

The project is costing the government about 300,000 yen.

According to the OPG, the number of foreign divers has been increasing with the rise in the number of foreign tourists visiting Okinawa. However, there are few diving shops that can cater to foreign divers in Okinawa. According to the OPG, the issue needs to be addressed so the prefecture can keep up with tourist demand and host these tourists.

A spokesperson of the government said, “We would like to make sure that foreign divers feel safe and help them enjoy the sea of Okinawa.”

Scuba diving accounted for 6.8 percent of foreign tourist activities in Okinawa in fiscal 2012. The majority of foreign tourists come from Europe, the mainland of China and North America.

(English translation by T&CT)

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