Sharp increase in overseas tourists rental car use

According to a survey of the Rental Car Association of Okinawa, the number of rental car use by overseas tourists hit a record 29,767 between January and June in 2014, which surpassed the number of in 2013.

The number of rental car users has tripled each month since this January compare to last year. The number is forecast to reach over 100,000 this year. However, there’s a bottleneck; due to lack of a shuttle bus stop between Naha Airport and car shops, users have to wait outside for a long time sometimes in the rain. And also, public transportation systems are not enough to take care of individual tourists’ needs.

Things like this lead to dissatisfaction.  Rental car shops are trying to improve their service by installing multilingual car navigation systems and brochures. For instance, OTS Rental Car has installed a driving simulation equipment for right-handle vehicles, and is renting 200 Wi-Fi routers. They are also planning to start renting domestic toll-free cell-phones for emergencies.

The chairman of Rental Car Association of Okinawa, Takehiro Shiraishi, stressed, “Lately, tourist style of overseas customers is changing a lot. We should address issues about infrastructure and service with cooperating between the public and private sectors as soon as possible.”