Okinawa tourist numbers break record, reaching about 8 million

April 21, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) announced that visitor arrivals in 2015 reached 7,936,300, which is a 10.7 percent increase from the previous year. This is a new record. Foreign visitors increased by 69.4 percent, reaching 1,670,300. Expansion in airline routes as well as an increase in cruise ships contributed to the drastic increase. Due to typhoons in the summer, domestic visitors remained at 6,266,000, 1.3 percent increase from the previous year.

The breakdown of the figures on foreign visitors shows Taiwanese tourists as 505,400, increasing by 39.5 percent. This is the first time that the number of Taiwanese tourists has reached 0.5 million. The number of tourists coming from the Chinese mainland was 354,800, 2.7 times the figure in 2014. 332,800 visitors arrived from Korea, which is a 73.6 percent increase. The number of Okinawa-bound tourists, recorded by both countries, is the first over 0.3 million. Hong Kong reached 0.2 million tourists for the first time, with 201,900 visitors. This number is an increase of 46.8 percent on the previous year.

Domestic tourists from Tokyo increased by 0.4 percent reaching 3,057,000; Kansai by 4.6 percent with 1,320,700; Fukuoka by 6.2 percent with 788,000; Nagoya by 2.1 percent with 497,200; and
At the same time, the visitor arrivals in March increased by 7.6 percent with 709,200 visitors, reaching 0.7 million in March for the first time. Domestic visitor numbers for March decreased by 1.5 percent with 571,300, while international visits increased by 74.6 percent with 137,900. This is the 42nd consecutive month in which tourist numbers have been higher than the same month in the previous year. Tourist number records have reached new records for 29 consecutive months.

Mitsuyuki Maeda of the OPG said the government anticipates continued growth for 2016, “the growth of visitors will continue to do well.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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