Subsidized package tours offered to remote islands
Okinawa Prefecture is readying for the start of a trial project featuring subsidized package tours to 16 remote islands in the prefecture. The tours are offered to 3,000 successful applicants chosen among residents of Okinawa main island starting in August.
According to prefecture officials, the tours aim to introduce the unique history, culture and nature of Okinawa’s remote islands to the public. The prefecture will subsidize 80 percent of the travel expenses. The tours are scheduled to start in September. The plan calls for accepting up to 3,000 applications per year.
The aim of the tours is to offer an opportunity to get to know the uniqueness of the remote islands, as well as to invigorate local communities.
Tour contents include inter-league games with the local sport clubs, and homemade cuisine lessons from local families and other community exchange oriented subjects.
The exchange promotion project of the remote island tourism has a budget of ¥180 million, and it’s included in the Okinawa special municipality promotion grant financed with a state subsidy. Three joint ventures are designated to manage the programs.
Rika Hiraki, the president and CEO of Cultivate Inc., one of the joint venture companies, says, “Okinawa’s remote islands represent the very essence of the charm of Okinawa, and we would like to increase the number of fans and repeat guests from the Okinawa main island.”