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Tourism officials create wish list to boost trade

Date Posted: 2002-08-31

Prompted by remarks in June by Heizo Takenaka, the economic and fiscal policy minister, Okinawa prefecture officials are compiling a wish list that would make the prefecture a special zone for tourism.

The wish list that will be handed over to officials in Tokyo by the end of this week, reportedly includes a suggestion to allow foreign tourists to visit the prefecture without a visa. The proposal would also exempt foreign tourists from the five-percent consumption tax.

Other ideas included in the list are creating a special lottery aimed at tourists, getting a special budget from the central government earmarked for building, improving and maintaining tourism related infrastructures, and creating tax and other incentives for tourism related companies to invest more in the prefecture.

Hotel and tour operators also compiled their own wish list. Their main wish was tax reductions for new investments. They also proposed creating a special planning board that would coordinate investment plans among companies, mainly for infrastructures on special zones to be created for tourism use.

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