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Ceremony marks groundbreaking for new cruise ship wharf and terminal

Date Posted: 2007-11-22

Okinawa is less than two years away from having a modern, state of the art cruise ship facility in downtown Naha City.

The Prefecture General Bureau hosted ceremonies for the new 340-meters long wharf, a necessity if Okinawa is to compete in attracting ships and tourists in coming years. The Aja Port now used by some passenger ships is becoming congested with cargo traffic, leading the Prefecture to develop the new, downtown passenger wharf. The pier, with its 9-meter draft capable of handling large cruise ships, will open in 2009.

Katsuko Asato, the Prefecture Vice Governor, and Takechi Onaga, Naha City’s Mayor, lead the VIP delegation at the ceremonies, along with Diet members who joined hands to push the button signaling the start to construction. The Prefecture General Bureau says more than half the 400,000 overseas tourists visiting Okinawa arrive by passenger ship, a number they expect to see increase in the coming decade. Prefecture staff say there are more than 13,500,000 people traveling aboard cruise ships each year, with 70% of them Americans. Okinawa wants to lure some of that trade here, citing the natural environment, historical spots, food, culture and the island prefecture’s longevity rates.

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