Yonabaru’s Agarihama to get new MICE facility
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga announced officially at a press conference at the Prefectural Government Office on May 22nd the much-awaited decision to locate the prefecture’s new MICE facility at Marine Town Agarihama between Yonabaru and Nishihara Towns.
At the press conference Onaga said, “The MICE facility will contribute to promoting the whole east coast area of the island, and lead to balancing the development evenly on both west and east coasts.”
The MICE facility is expected to reduce the tourism gap between the east and west coasts of the island. The planned construction site in the Marine Town Agarihama district is a 13.9-hectare area located on the west side of Nishihara Kirakira Beach. Relevant prefectural departments are tasked to evaluate possible construction methods and to complete a geological survey of the area during fiscal 2015. The construction of the facility is scheduled to begin in the fiscal 2017.
The main reasons prefecture officials gave for the decision are that, first, it’s possible complete and have the facility up and running before 2020, the year of Tokyo Olympics and the scheduled completion of the second runway construction at Naha Airport. Second, it’s possible to build hotels and other commercial facilities on the land around the site with the prospect of job creation. And third, the project will lead to improving environment on the east coast of the island for tourism and investment.
Onaga explained that, “The most important reason for deciding the site is that the MICE facility can commence operation by 2020.” He also addressed the reasons why big cities of Naha, Urasoe or Ginowan were not chosen, saying they are able to develop their economy with investment from private sector, which they have plenty of. Toyosaki in Tomigusuku City that was in consideration for a long time was passed for the same reason.
“Those municipalities can improve local economy without depending on the MICE facility,” Onaga said. At first, Marine Town Agarihama was not considered as a potential site for the MICE facility due to its poor accessibility to Naha Airport and lack of hotel accommodations. Regarding the traffic accessibility, Onaga indicated it wouldn’t be a problem because plans for new road construction are ready.