Okinawa tourism income 2013 hits record high

The Okinawa Prefectural Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports announced on Sep. 19th that tourism income in fiscal 2013 increased by 12.1% to ¥447.868 billion setting a new record.

The department cites the impact of attracting people by LCC airlines, expansion of airline routes, economy’s recovery and lower yen, as the main reasons for the increase. Officials say the number of visitors hit the highest level ever totaling 6.58 million.  At the same time, the amount of consumption per person increased by 0.9% from the same time last year to ¥68,062 per visitor. The increase is the first in three years.

Overseas tourists increased the amount of their consumption in all sectors including lodging, souvenir purchases, shopping and food, while domestic visitors decreased their spending by one percent.  Overseas travelers coming to the prefecture by sea, mainly on cruise ships, increased their spending by 15.8% to ¥96,548, and those who came by air increased their spending by 31.2% to ¥26,238.

The amount visitors spent on food increased to ¥15,626 per person or by 9%, compared to the previous fiscal year.  The accommodation expenses rose by 0.2 % to ¥18,347.   Souvenirs and shopping counted for ¥16,079, which is an increase of 0.5%.  Money spent on transportation costs rose by 0.8% to ¥9,922.  Admission expenses to amusement activities, including diving and other outdoor activities decreased 7.7% to ¥6,647.

The average length of stay of a domestic visitor extended by 0.08 day to 3.83 days.  The rate of repeat visitors decreased by 0.8 points, but on the other hand, visitors coming to Okinawa for the first time increased.

Chief of Okinawa Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports Seijun Wakugawa says, “We are planning to support the development of souvenir products that enhance visitors’ willingness to buy, and also seek improvement in hotels’ management. Additionally, it is important to raise the percentage of overseas travelers who tend to spend more than domestic tourists.”