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Motorcycle rentals to boost tourism

Date Posted: 2007-01-12

A local hotel and spa has been granted rights to handle Harley Davidson motorcycle rentals on Okinawa.

The announcement this week by Maetaka Co., the operator of Naha Central Hotel and natural spa Rikka Rikka Yu was hailed as a boon to tourism by local officials who see the new service as both needed and overdue. Naha Central Hotel president Satoshi Nakamura says “nowhere in Japan, except Okinawa, can we enjoy touring year around.

Harley Motorcycles are already in rental service in both Hawaii and Las Vegas. Offering the popular 1,450cc motorbikes is described as “yet another step toward making Okinawa an international destination.” Maetaka received Okinawa Prefecture approval for the rental service late last month, clearing the way for introducing the popular bikes. The company has purchased one ‘Fat Boy’ and one ‘Dyna Lowrider’ 1450cc bikes for ¥2 million each.

Day-evening rental fees will be ¥23,626, while full day rates will be ¥15,750. The idea for a rental service was conceived after Nakamura saw winter visitors arriving on Okinawa by boat were bringing their motorcycles with them. Harley Davidson motorbikes are a favorite among baby boomers. Nakamura’s idea is “for visitors to enjoy Okinawa’s warmth, and to use the bikes as a hobby.”

Maetaka Manager Ryoichi China says the company plans call for adding a third motorcycle to the rental program in March, and seven more after five years. The rental agency says it ultimately wants to add up to 20 more Harley Davidson motorcycles to the Okinawa operation.

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