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Number of tourists visiting Okinawa up slightly

Date Posted: 1999-01-08

The Okinawa Prefecture Sightseeing and Resort Division announced, Tuesday that the number of visitors to the prefecture increased slightly in 1998. According to prefecture statistics, the total number of tourists to Okinawa was 4,126,500. The total is somewhat higher than the division had previously estimated and exceeds the number of the previous year by 260,000.

Officials cited the decreasing cost of airfares as one of the main reasons more people chose to visit Okinawa. They also said that because of the expected increase in demand, airlines increased the number of flights and organized new direct routes to Okinawa. Also a factor was the economic slump in the nation which caused many tourists to limit their travels to destinations inside Japan instead of going overseas. Relatively weak yen is another cause for people restricting their travel overseas.

Okinawa Prefecture and tour companies have also increased their promotion efforts with obviously good results.

The favorable trend seems to be continuing. The number of tourists to Okinawa from Jan. 1 through 10 actually exceeded the number suring the same period last year.

Officials aim to increase the number of visitors to Okinawa to 5,000,000 people by the year 2001.

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