Yaeyama welcomed over 1.2 million tourists in 2016

According to early estimates, the number of tourists who visited Yaeyama in 2016 exceeded 1.2 million that is a new record. Local officials credit especially the increase in the number of foreign tourists because of the inauguration of regular fights by Hong Kong Express Air between Hong Kong and Ishigaki in June. Western tourists traveling on domestic flights and cruise ships also increased while the number of domestic visitors increased as well.

The total number of tourists from January through November was 1,148,547 that is 10.3% more than the year before, and that leads to an estimate that the total number in 2016 would exceed 1.2 million.

Ishigaki Port had cruise ships from Germany and France docking in March 2016 for the first time, and Ishigaki Island also reveiced an introductory tour from Italy. Before most of the visitors were from China and Taiwan, however, the situation has changed so that Ishigaki Tourism Association is now preparing brochures and pamphlets in French and Italian in order to welcome visitors from those countries, too.