OKINAWA, 20 March 2017: Routes Asia opened at the weekend here Okinawa attracting over 930 route development professionals from 110 airlines, 170 airports and 20 tourism authorities.
The event is being held at the Okinawa Convention Centre through to 21 March.
“Routes Asia 2017 highlights Okinawa airline’s access from Asian cities, such as Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Bangkok,” said Takeshi Onaga, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture at the opening ceremony.
The destination is experiencing a tourism boom with over 8 million people (domestic and international) travel to the prefecture annually to enjoy its subtropical climate, beaches and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Okinawa’s Naha Airport has more than trebled its international flight capacity in the last three years from an average of eight to 23 a day. New links include Hangzhou, Nanjing, Tianjin, Kaohsiung and Bangkok.
The conference is billed as a “Strategy Summit”, that gives delegates the chance to hear from industry leaders, including many high profile speakers from the region.
Routes Online pre-event information noted that the “axis of the global aviation sector is shifting to the East”.
This shift is highlighting the rising stars of the region such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“This is the first year that Routes Asia has been held in Japan, so it’s an exciting landmark for us. The event will help Okinawa Prefecture to reach its target of 10 million tourists a year by 2021,” said Steven Small, brand director of Routes.
Visitor numbers to Japan have exceeded the 20 million target that the Japanese Government set for 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics.