Okinawa fails to surpass Hawaii in terms of 2018 tourist numbers and increase rate

Okinawa fails to surpass Hawaii in terms of 2018 tourist numbers and increase rate

Ichiba Hondori shopping street bustling with local shoppers, foreigners, and tourists (documentary photograph)

February 3, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

The U.S. state of Hawaii, which is in competition with Okinawa over incoming tourist numbers, had a preliminary estimate of 9,954,548 tourists in the 2018 calendar year, roughly 112,100 more than Okinawa, which had 984,2400 tourists visiting during the same period.

Okinawa was unable to achieve a greater number of tourist visitors than Hawaii in 2018. In 2017, Okinawa’s tourist count surpassed Hawaii’s when the preliminary figures were announced, but fell behind when the final numbers came out.

Still, in 2017 Hawaii was ahead by a mere 8,000 visitors, while in 2018 it achieved a more significant lead.

Hawaiian tourism promotion organization Hawaii Tourism Authority announced the preliminary figure on January 31 local time.

Although some months in 2018 saw fewer tourists than the previous year because of a measles outbreak and typhoon, overall 2018 saw an increase of 4.7% in tourists over the previous year.

Hawaii was also concerned that the eruption of the Kīlauea volcano might negatively impact tourism, but 2018 saw a 5.9% increase in tourists over the previous year, meaning that the rate of increase as well as the total number of tourists surpassed that of Okinawa.

Both locations saw an increase in tourist numbers compared to the previous year despite being hit by natural disasters. Yet Hawaii saw a larger rate of increase than Okinawa.

Tourist numbers to Hawaii, with its year-round summer, peak in December, and reached 910,000 visitors in December 2018.

Visitors to Okinawa from January to November 2018 reached 9,092,100, a 50,000-person lead over Hawaii during the same period, but Hawaii saw a significantly higher number of visitors in December, which caused it to surpass Okinawa when looking at the entire calendar year.

The same phenomenon occurred in 2017.

It appears that in order to surpass Hawaii in terms of incoming tourist numbers, Okinawa will need to gain a significant lead from January to November, as well as increase the number of visitors in December.

Meanwhile, the tourist consumption amount per person during visitors’ stays in Hawaii in 2018 was USD 1,790.60, more than the previous year; this amount is equal to roughly JPY 195,000.

The tourist consumption amount per person during visitors’ stays in Okinawa in FY 2017 was JPY 72,853, less than the previous year for the second year in a row.

It appears a new strategy is needed for Okinawa to achieve its goal of becoming a world-class tourist destination.

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

Go to Japanese


Previous Article:
Next Article:

[Similar Articles]