Number tourists visiting Yaeyama in July exceeds 100,000
The Prefectural Yaeyama Office announced Sep. 3 that the number of tourists who visited Yaeyama islands during the month of July exceeded 100,000.
This marks the first time Yaeyama has ever seen such an influx of visitors. The record comes after the New Ishigaki Airport opened in March resulting in an increase of direct flights from major cities in mainland Japan. This has also been good news to Yaeyama sightseeing businesses that have been expanding. A staffer at the Prefectural Office says that it seems that the visitors kept coming in high numbers through August and afterwards.
The total number of tourists who visited Yaeyama area arriving through Ishigaki Painushima Airport, Yonaguni Airport and Ishigaki Port reached 102,408 people in July. That is 19,973 higher than in July 2012 (a 24% increase). That is also a new record, as the previous high was 85,333 visitors, which was counted in April this year. This marks the ninth consecutive new record on a monthly basis compared to last year’s.
Regarding the origin of the visitors, the numbers were up 252% from Tokyo (Haneda and Narita), 223% up from Osaka (Kansai Airport). Kobe and Nagoya, which had not direct flights to Yaeyama last year and started them only this year after the opening of the new airport, accounted for 5,694 visitors arriving at Yaeyama in July.