Okinawa City looks for private residences to alleviate lodging shortages

Okinawa City Tourism & Products Association is planning to implement an “Event Vacation Rental” program, the first of its kind in Okinawa in conjunction with “Hiroshima Toyo Carp Central League Championship Celebration Parade” scheduled for Feb. 25th in Okinawa City.

The plan is aimed at alleviating the predicted shortage of accommodations in the city during the event. It will be a limited-time offer and participants will need no special permission nor do they need to comply with Hotel and Ryokan Management Law.

The plan calls for residents to open their private homes to accommodate Hiroshima Carp fans. Residents who themselves are Carp fans are especially welcome to participate.

The aim is to solve lodging shortage in the city. The plan is also to cover the expected lodging shortage in September when the 62nd All Okinawa Eisa Festival will take place and about 320,000 people are expected to visit the city in 3 days.

The Event Vacation Rental is one of the government regulation reform plans, and it can be implemented during events specified by the government. The plan provides an exemption of regulations requiring submitting a notification or complying with accommodation ordinances. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has made it unnecessary to apply for a permission in the cases of limited-time offers. A person providing accommodation in his or her home is limited to participating in the scheme once a yea. In addition, the local government has to predict that normal lodging facilities will be insufficient during the event.

On Sep. 25th when the parade takes place and the day before, Okinawa Grand Mer Resort, the largest hotel in the city with 300 rooms, reports than all of the rooms are occupied. According to city officials, based on the past experience and anecdotal information, all lodging facilities in Okinawa City will be in short supply during the Eisa festival season every year.

City officials have set up a program called “Tomareru Okinawa” that is tasked with coordinating the pairings of the host and the guests. For details, call to Okinawa City Tourism & Products Association 098-989-5566, or the office of “Tomareru Okinawa” at 050-6869-2547.