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Recession not slowing building of new hotels

Date Posted: 2009-02-26

From Itoman City in the far south, to Onna Village and Nago City in the north, tourism expectations are trumping the recession as eight new hotels prepare to open their Okinawa doors in coming weeks and months.

When the grand opening ceremonies are complete in mid-summer, Okinawa will have 1,800 more hotel rooms to serve the tourists and business travelers at the mix of hotels and resorts. The Okinawa Development Promotion Finance Bank, also known as Okinawa Koko, has announced the scheduled opening times for the latest projects, adding a cautionary note of concern that it’s worried because of timing and effects of the business recession.

The Okinawa Koko says the new hotels are an indicator tourism demand is still strong for Okinawa, and notes construction companies remain optimistic as they continue to build. There are currently 329 hotels on Okinawa with a total of 27,394 rooms, not counting the new facilities.

Hotel Yugafu in Okinawa, located in Nago City, is scheduled to open next month, as is the Hotel Granview Garden Okinawa in Tomishiro City. Two hotels open in May, the Southern Beach Hotel and Resort in Itoman City and the CS Tsubogawa Hotel in Naha City. Three major projects open in July; the Junon Hotel in Ginowan City, Loisier Hotel and Spa Tower in Naha City, and the Hotel Tokyu Visfort in Naha City. Work on the Fuchaku Resort Okinawa Condominiums in Onna Village has restarted, and officials are projecting a summer opening.

“Basically, the number of tourists to Okinawa is increasing all the time,” says an Okinawa Prefecture official. “Coming this year are big conferences, including JC nationwide convention that is expected to bring more than 20,000 visitors,” he says, adding “there are nationwide high school sports games bringing more than 10,000 tourists, and now it looks like the tourism business will never go down.” Hotel owners say they like that thinking, and are continuing to design and build new hotels. Southern parts of Okinawa don’t have many hotels, and business leaders say it looks like more are needed. Itoman City and Tomishiro City areas are changing, with new road construction, tourism facilities and beaches, parks, shopping malls and rental car businesses all transforming the cities. Tourism officials say businesses are getting ready for tourists, and hotels have promised to provide good service, too.

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