Vacant Ichibangai Mall stores to become hotel
NPO Machizukuri Kozamachi is planning to open a hotel in renovated vacant stores in Ichibangai shopping mall in Okinawa City.
The renovation is scheduled to begin as early as this month, and the hotel is scheduled to open in November. The aim is to have more tourists to stay in Okinawa City longer to increase their spending in the city. Plans of the NPO include organizing experiential tours with the support from local stores, and to issuing meal coupons that can be used at area restaurants in order to invigorate the shopping mall itself.
The hotel is planned to be a 3-story facility, with a total floor space of 350 square meters. The first floor will have a networking café, the second and the third floors hotel rooms. There will be nine twin rooms, and two rooms that can accommodate six people each.
The plan was approved in June as a promotion supporting business for the shopping arcade by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and it was granted two-thirds of the ¥64-million renovation cost. The rest of the cost was borrowed from a financial institution.
The problem of Okinawa City is that it has few accommodations, and most of foreign tourists who visit the city for it’s exchange program stay in other areas. The president of NPO Machizukuri Kozamachi expects the new hotel to attract many tourists to stay in Okinawa City and enjoy the night entertainment visiting live music clubs and other establishments in the city.
The hotel operators are expecting an average occupancy rate of 60%. They also plan to have exchange events with locals and tourists at the networking café, like renting kimonos for photo session and festivals, and conducting tea ceremonies produced by local teashops.