(Okinawa region) Mission Dispatch Program: OKINAWA Wedding Business Mission in Hong Kong (China) (FY2008)
In addition to being a world-class location with a warm climate and surrounded by beautiful ocean, Okinawa offers excellent public security and outstanding access by air. Attracted by these features, the number of couples holding wedding ceremonies there has been increasing sharply, and resort weddings in Okinawa are drawing domestic and international attention.
In July 2007 the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) announced that a survey by a wedding information magazine had revealed that Okinawa had been the number-one resort wedding area in Japan for three consecutive years.
According to the announcement, among other things, (1) it can be expected that resort weddings increase the number of new tourists, such as relatives and friends, since about 30 people per couple attends the weddings; (2) the April?June period, when the number of tourists visiting Okinawa is low, is the season for weddings, so resort weddings can be expected to raise both the average number of tourists in a year and the amount of money they spend; and (3) it can be hoped that resort weddings create new jobs in the tourism industry because of the related demand for wedding planners, costumes, photographs, dancing, flowers, souvenirs, and so on. Therefore, Okinawa Prefecture and the OCVB are conducting promotion activities both domestically and internationally with the target of increasing the number of weddings to 10,000 couples in 2011.
In order to assist in the attraction of couples, the Economy and Industry Division of the Cabinet Officeβs Okinawa General Bureau and the IIST formed a secretariat and implemented the OKINAWA Wedding Business Mission in Hong Kong comprised of a bridal company and hotels located in Okinawa Prefecture.
The mission operated a booth at a regular wedding expo in Hong Kong, publicized resort weddings in Okinawa, and held a discussion meeting with local companies.
Dates: October 31 (Friday) - November 4 (Wednesday), 2008
Organized by: OKINAWA Wedding Business Mission, Economy and Industry Division, Okinawa General Bureau, Cabinet Office, Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST)
In cooperation with: Chatan Town Association of Commerce and Industry, Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Chiyoda Bridal House, Rizzan Sea-Park Hotel Tancha-Bay, Amms Hotels CanNa Resort Villa, Economy and Industry Division, Okinawa General Bureau, Cabinet Office, Institute for International Studies and Training (IIST)
(1)Exhibit at the Hong Kong Wedding & Wedding Services Expo 2008
-Dates:November 1 (Saturday) - 3 (Monday), 2008
-Place:Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
-Organized by:Hongkong-Asia Exhibition(Holdings) Ltd.
-Exhibiting companies: Total of 550 companies
-Number of visitors: Total of 50,000 persons
-Number of visitors to this booth: 298 persons (of whom 298 responded to questionnaire)
(2)Implementation of Hong Kong Wedding Business Matching Seminar
-Date: November 4 (Tuesday), 2008
-Place:Wharney Guang Dong Hotel
-Content:Discussions were held with travel agencies, wedding production companies, costume businesses, and photography businesses in Hong Kong to understand local trends, market needs, issues that should be addressed, and so on.
-From the questionnaire distributed to visitors, it was ascertained that awareness of Okinawa is unexpectedly low compared with Hokkaido and Karuizawa. However, because of its beautiful location, many visitors showed an interest in resort weddings in Okinawa, thus confirming that the island has much potential in this respect.
-The mission was able to get an understanding specifically of the tastes and needs of Hong Kong couples.
-Through business talks at the Hong Kong Wedding & Wedding Services Expo 2008, agreements were made for wedding ceremonies.
-Through the business matching seminar, agreements were made with a Hong Kong travel company specializing in honeymoons and an agency. After that, several reservations were ensured for the implementation of ceremony and location photos.
-Favorable comments have been received from clients who have already implemented ceremony and location photos.
Following future issues are also identified
-Need for efforts to raise awareness of tourism in Okinawa
-Training of wedding planners capable of responding in various languages
-Support for the development of new wedding styles and original gifts from Okinawa for guests
International Exchange Dept.