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OCVB steps into the wedding business

Date Posted: 2006-11-17

The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau is ruffling a few business feathers as it prepares to directly enter the lucrative wedding planning business.

THE OCVB has been promoting Okinawa weddings, which lure dozens of couples from mainland Japan and elsewhere each year, since 2004. The Okinawa Summit Hall in Nago City has been a prime wedding resort location. Until now, OCVB has been steering the business activities to vendors representing photo and flower shops, gown designers and caterers.

Now, OCVB says it will eliminate the middleman and begin operating wedding planning services directly. The 50+ vendors now providing services are unhappy about the change, claiming it will cost them money.

The OCVB says ‘not true’ because it will still require such services. “Actually, we had been planning to operate by ourselves from the beginning,” an official says, “but it took time. Now we can run it with our own staff and employees.” The official brushes off complaints from vendors, reminding them “we are only dealing with, and inviting, people from outside Okinawa. We are asking mainlanders and overseas people to have their weddings in Okinawa.” He said the principal marketing targets are Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea.

At least 73 couples tied the knot in Okinawa since 2004, and OCVB says those off-island couples spent money both with the weddings and receptions, but also on honeymoons here. The OCVB is planning to attract 130 couples to marry in Okinawa in 2007.

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