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Okinawa grows as resort wedding spot for outsiders

Date Posted: 2012-03-28

Wedding bells are ringing more often in Okinawa for couples visiting from both mainland Japan and overseas, increasing to 8,189 in 2011.

The Okinawa Prefecture Tourism Promotion Division says Okinawa Resort Weddings are increasing in popularity, with the 8,189 couples tying the knot representing a 2% increase over 2010. Influenza and economic conditions had slowed the overseas wedding industry in recent years, but tourism officials are optimistic the numbers will continue to grow. It’s statistics were compiled with 61 companies who offer and promote resort weddings.

Couples from mainland Japan increased by 78 couples, to 7,984. Overseas couples making the move in Okinawa increased by 65 couples to 205, an increase of 46.4%. The Prefectural government says 180,000 people visited Okinawa for the weddings, a figure that includes the invited guests. Based on prefecture calculations that the average wedding visitor spends ¥66,000 in the islands, Okinawa’s total revenues from resort weddings is estimated at least ¥14.5 billion.

Weddings in Christian-style chapels are said to be the most popular option, accounting for roughly 90% of the weddings. Many of the weddings are conducted at resorts with a backdrop of the East China Sea’s crystal blue waters spurring additional visitors.

Okinawa Prefecture has established a target of luring 9,600 couples to the islands this year. It says tourism officials will work to strengthen and expand promotions, centering on Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan.

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