Naha 4th, Ishigaki 6th in cruise ship port calls
According to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, cruise liners made a total 1,454 port calls to Japanese ports in 2015. The number is the highest ever and 250 more than the previous year.
The top 10 ports were Hakata in Kyushu that had 259 cruise liner arrivals, followed by Nagasaki with 131, Yokohama 125, Naha 115, Kobe 97, Ishigaki 84, Kagoshima 53, Sasebo 36, Nagoya 34, and Hiroshima with 32.
The ministry analysis of the data indicates the increase in incoming tourists from Southeast Asian nations and China is reflected by the fact that six of the top 10 ports are located in the Kyushu and Okinawa areas, which are geographically closer to the ships’ ports of departure in the Southeast Asia.
The number of cruise ships visiting Hakata increased by 144, and Nagasaki by 56 from the previous year. Within the Okinawa Prefecture, Ishigaki and Miyakojima in addition to Naha are on the list of regular destinations for cruise ships.
In spite of concerns about a possibility of a decrease in the number of foreign tourists to Kyushu area due to the Kumamoto earthquake in April, there have not been reports of any significant impact, such as cancellations because of the quake. Thus, the trend of increasing number of port calls in Japan by cruise ships seems to continue in 2016.
The number of foreign tourists who visited Japan in 2015 on cruise ship rose 2.7-fold in the year-on-year basis to 1,116,000 people. The Japanese government envisions a future, in which the global cruise market expands and flourishes in the northeast Asian seas and eventually grows as large as that in the Caribbean.