Tourism Concerns Emerging One Month after Shuri Castle Fire

Society

Naha, Okinawa Pref., Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--People making their living on Shuri Castle tourism are increasingly complaining of their uneasiness after the Seiden hall and other main buildings of the castle at a World Heritage site in Naha, capital of Okinawa Prefecture, were burned to the ground a month earlier.

Although the Oct. 31 fire destroyed the symbol of Okinawa, experts and local government officials, however,deny major adverse effects on the entire tourism industry in the southernmost prefecture.

"Unlike in times of earthquakes, it's not that the whole prefecture has suffered damage. The impacts of losing the symbol are big, but those are hard to see in numbers," says Toshio Takeda, a researcher at the Ryugin Research Institute Ltd.

According to the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau, an affiliate of the prefectural government, the number of tourists to Okinawa is expected to increase by up to 5 pct from a year earlier in January and remain almost flat in February.

A bureau official ruled out the possibility of over 800 schools set as of Nov. 1 to conduct excursions to Okinawa by the March 31 end of fiscal 2019 rushing to cancel the trips. "We're recommending visits to the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum instead of the Shuri Castle," adds the official.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press