Escape! Malaysia - - Travel News -

JTB Malaysia ex­pects a boost of tourism to the is­land of Ok­i­nawa in 2017 in light of new air routes from Taipei to Naha air­port. Be­gin­ning Jan­uary 2017, China Air­lines will be of­fer­ing flights to Naha with only a 4 hour lay­over in­stead of overnight flights.

“Prior to this devel­op­ment, the only way to travel to Ok­i­nawa was via Tokyo or Osaka but thanks to China Air­lines’ new routes, tourists will be able to travel to Ok­i­nawa from Taipei with­out an overnight lay­over” ex­plained JTB Malaysia out­bound di­vi­sion se­nior man­ager, Shen Nordin.

Shen be­lieves this devel­op­ment would help spur traf­fic from Malaysia to Ok­i­nawa driven pri­mar­ily by free in­de­pen­dent trav­ellers (FIT), event launches and com­pany trips.

“Ok­i­nawa of­fers some­thing unique com­pared to other parts of Ja­pan due to its dual her­itage (of Ja­pan and China). I be­lieve that this would ap­peal to South­east Asian trav­ellers due to our shared mul­ti­cul­tural her­itage,” Shen added.

His­tor­i­cally, Ok­i­nawa was known as the “Ryukyu King­dom” and was deeply in­volved in mar­itime trade with South­east Asian coun­tries like Siam and Malacca in the 14th cen­tury. Ok­i­nawa is home to the Chu­raumi Aquar­ium which is one of the world’s largest aquar­i­ums and Shuri Cas­tle, the seat of power of the Ryukyu King­dom.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from Ja­pan Na­tional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (JNTO), vis­i­tors to Ja­pan from Malaysia in Oct 2016 grew by 28.8% to 36,700 peo­ple from 28,488 a year ago.

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