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Resort Weddings continue increasing despite recession

Date Posted: 2009-03-19

Wedding bells are ringing loud and clear across Okinawa, and the Okinawa Prefecture Convention Bureau says its Resort Weddings promotion is increasing.

More than 8,000 couples tied the knot on Okinawa last year despite the economic slowdown, an increase from 7,285 weddings in 2007. Statistics show 6,050 were married on Okinawa in 2006, 4,605 in 2005, and 3,500 in the initial promotion year 2004.

Okinawa is now the nation’s favorite wedding spot, outdistancing Karuizawa resort area in Nagano Prefecture, which held the lead until 2005. Hokkaido is now the third most popular wedding destination.
The Convention Bureau attributes Okinawa’s newly-found popularity to its ‘Visit Okinawa’ promotion programs, and to direct scheduled airline flights to the prefecture from Hong Kong. Okinawa Convention Bureau met last week at the Okinawa Industrial Support Center in Naha, where they announced results of a resort wedding exhibition in Hong Kong, the Valentine Wedding Expo.

Hong Kong attendees at the Valentine Wedding Expo were asked “where would you like to have your wedding in Japan?, and 51 of the 163 respondents said Okinawa. The reasons, they said, were the flowers and blue ocean waters, a wedding in front of a resort chapel, and the honeymoon opportunities.

Asked about shortcomings to an Okinawa wedding, most respondents said they worried about language barriers. They told the Convention Bureau Okinawans don’t speak much English or other international languages, and complained there were not enough English language signs posted. Some said driving on the left side of the road also was a concern in Okinawa.

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