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Weather, oil prices help boost tourism

Date Posted: 2008-08-30

Tourism officials in Okinawa are smiling as July reports filter in showing a 10% increase in the number of island visitors.

At least 525,400 visitors chose Okinawa in July, keeping the prefecture on track to beat itís target goal of 6.2 million visitors this year. Officials attribute the bump to terrific weather in Okinawa with no typhoon activity, and higher oil prices that have raised airfares and curbed long distance travel plans for many. Okinawa tourism officials say the last time such a high increase was registered was December 2005.

Analysis of visitor records show an 8.7% increase in the number of mainland visitors, coupled with a rise of 36.6% increase in the number of overseas visitors. Officials say travelers from Hong Kong and Taiwan led the list of foreigners visiting. Passenger cruise ships were also credited with hiking the tourism numbers.

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