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Bad news: Travel specialists don’t know about Okinawa

Date Posted: 2009-08-13

Okinawa’s Convention and Visitors Bureau has its work cut out for itself; a new survey shows most Asian countries know little about Okinawa Prefecture.

Researchers dealing with five Asian countries—Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Japan—discovered that travel agents know much more about just about everywhere else than Okinawa. Details announced this week underscore Okinawa’s need to revamp its marketing and tourism promotion maintenance programs, and is sending the OCVB into action with a new ‘Okinawa Inbound Promotion Committee’ to make plans for promoting Okinawa overseas.

Travel agencies and other tourism officials from Japan and the other four Asian nations were surveyed July 31st and asked “Do you know about Okinawa?” More than 97% of Korean travel agents knew about Tokyo, 94% were familiar with Osaka, 83% knowing Hiroshima, but only 70.8% knew about Okinawa.

It wasn’t much better with Chinese tourism specialists. Tokyo knowledge was voiced by more than 95% of those surveyed, 92.3% about Mount Fuji, 85.8% about Hokkaido, 82.3% about Osaka, but only 50.8% had any information about Okinawa. Fully 99% of Taiwanese travel agents surveyed knew about Hokkaido, 98% about Tokyo, 96% about Nagoya, and 92.7% about Mount Fuji. Taiwanese were most familiar with Okinawa, with 92.7% having at least a basic knowledge of what the prefecture has to office.

The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau is now preparing to do research on overseas tourist numbers, and on how many overseas visitors go to mainland Japan each year. OCVB plans to concentrate on longevity life and the high class resorts available in Okinawa. A 2009-2010 promotion budget of ¥76 million has been established.

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