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Okinawa offers tourists more than mere beaches

Date Posted: 2009-03-12

At first glance, it’s Okinawa’s beaches that attract tourists. Others suggest it’s the Churaumi Aquarium or Shuri Castle, but a new survey overwhelmingly shows Okinawa is a totally ‘different’ vacation adventure for tourists.

A new study from Okinawa University shows an overwhelming majority of respondents, 86.7% of the tourists, came to Okinawa wanting to study new things and have an exciting time. They wanted more than looking at Okinawa’s emerald green waters or blue skies, says Toshio Takagi, the university instructor overseeing the study. In essence, he says, Okinawa’s lure is far more than the traditional sites and thinking tourism planners have been calculating.

Eco tourism is increasing in popularity, as tourists want to experience first hand natural things like planting fruits or vegetables, harvesting sugar cane, sweet potatoes or rice, or tending to domestic animals while on vacation. Eco tourists also like to attend and participate in local festivals, while another large number seek to become immersed in local culture. Takagi’s seminar indicated that “70% of tourists make repeat visits to Okinawa, and each time want to have more experiences.”

Tourism, Prefecture and local officials are teaming up to develop programs and promotions that will boost tourism and offer more new programs.

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