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Okinawa ROUTES ASIA


Chengdu continues to grow


in attracting air routes linking Okinawa to overseas destinations. It also coincides perfectly with the impending opening of the second runway at Naha Airport, the prefecture’s primary facility, coming just before Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020. In addition to economic benefits


generated by the event, Okinawa can offer tourists from around the world an exceptional experience. Based on our “value proposition” as a sophisticated tourist destination, we would like tourists to be healed and rediscover their true selves in the warm climate and beautiful island environment as well as interacting with the warm- hearted local population.


They will also be impressed by our


clear seas, beautiful sandy beaches, coral reefs, traditional dancing and Okinawan cuisine.


What are the key aims of your hosting of the event? Is it simply to promote the airport? Routes Asia events are attended by key decision makers over airline routes and major players in the field of tourism development. For this reason, the event is expected to make a major contribution to increasing recognition of the host region of Okinawa. We are actively promoting the event because of the positive impact expected


What is the split between domestic and international traffic? Are you happy with this? Would you like either one to be more? And how can you change it? The number of passengers that used Naha Airport in total for arrivals and departures in 2015 was 16 million on domestic routes and 2.32 million on international routes. Of these passengers, a total of 6.22 million Japanese people and 1.08 million foreigners chose to visit Okinawa by air, showing the importance of strong airlift. In order to accomplish our goals


of attracting one trillion yen (about $8.77 billion) in tourism revenue and 10 million tourists in 2021, we need to create policies for strategic marketing, improve the available tourism product and work to increase the value of our tourism service. As a result, we have to diversify targeted markets, extend


Geography: Okinawa is an


archipelago of 160 islands stretching over more than 620 miles to the south of mainland Japan; 49 are inhabited.


Population: 1.42 million people live in Okinawa; about half of the 53,000 US troops based in Japan live in the prefecture.


Economics: Tourism is its biggest industry; local authorities are also hoping to drive its MICE business.


routesonline.com ROUTES NEWS 2017 ISSUE 1 67


the length of tourists’ stays and attract wealthier foreign visitors. It is also important for us to create


high-quality tourism destinations and resorts that are unique to Okinawa and highly competitive with our rivals. To do so, we need to take advantage of our rich natural environment and the unique and fascinating history, culture and food on offer in the prefecture. As a result of our increasing overseas promotion efforts in recent years, Okinawa has been recognised as an attractive tourist destination in Asia and direct air routes from Asian countries have expanded rapidly. Approximately 80% of foreign


visitors are from Taiwan, Korea, China and Hong Kong. Okinawa is already well known as a tourist destination and many visitors from those regions have come to know the island well. The way they travel has also


changed, from group tours to individual tours, which shows how the market is changing. Tours to common sightseeing spots or regular shopping trips are no longer enough for them, so we need to respond to their needs and promote alternative attractions in Okinawa. It is our challenge to make Okinawa


a well-balanced international tourist destination. To do so, we need to maintain the quality of the island as a tourist destination and promote our unique values. Such efforts will make Okinawa a world-famous tourist destination in the Asia-Pacific region with distinctive brand values. To achieve this, we need to meet the demands not only of Asian travellers w


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