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Wedding resorts attracting Plenty of eager couples

Date Posted: 2004-05-20

Okinawa Prefecture seems to be getting into the wedding business.

Island Market has reported before that Okinawa is reaching out to tourists wanting to get married, and is adopting the “Wedding Resort Okinawa” theme to catch they eye of those planning to get hitched.

Officials report the numbers of couples coming to Okinawa in search of a wedding setting and subsequent honeymoon is rising And those same officials want to make sure their wishes are made reality.

Only a few years ago there were only several hundred couples a year having wedding parties in Okinawa. This year, though, reservations are already in place to help 3,000 couples tie the knot.

The latest Prefectural thinking is “why not use the Summit main hall’bankoku shinryo-kan” for ceremonies. That was the hall where all of the world’s top leaders gathered to meet in 2000.

Since then, the Prefecture has been promoting the Hall as a rental site for international conferences and conventions, but the lure to Okinawa hasn’t been strong. Most of the time the Hall is empty and closed, with maintenance taking place.

The government officials think that the Hall, since it’s in the middle of a resort area, will catch on as a great place. Getting couples to think of using a public facility for a private event seems somewhat unusual, but also an eyecatching setting. The Hall is surrounded by blue waters lapping onto sandy beaches, and green forests only a few yards away.

They call it a “wonderful setting for couples” and are now planning to attract beauticians, wedding dress shops, photographers and souvenir shops,wedding planners, etc. There are actually three halls that can be used. In 2000 the Halls were in use 43% of the time,44% of the time the following year, and now only 20.4% in use.

That is why the focus is on promotion.

The forward thinkers want to make Okinawa the Asian oasis, turning back Japanese now going to Guam and Hawaii for those special wedding parties. They note Okinawa is cheaper in every way, and the historical element of using the Summit Hall makes the wedding even more special

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