Naha Port resumes cruise ship calls to 30%


International Business News – The number of cruise ship calls at Naha Port (Naha City, Okinawa, Japan), which had the highest number of cruise ship calls in Japan before the New Crown epidemic, is gradually recovering, with an average of 7 scheduled calls per month from March to May, which is 30% of the monthly average of 2019 before the New Crown epidemic in pure comparison. With the recovery of foreign tourists visiting Japan, the issues of short stay and low spending of cruise passengers are still to be improved.

On March 9, when international cruise ships docked at Naha Port in Okinawa for the first time in three years, the shopkeepers at “Kokusai-dori,” a busy street in Naha City, were all smiles as the bustling atmosphere before the epidemic finally returned. About 1,900 passengers of the Westerdam, operated by a U.S. company mainly from the U.S. and Europe, enjoyed a tour of the main island of Okinawa from morning to evening.

In order to receive the cruise ship, Japan now needs to agree on a “regional agreement” consisting of port, medical and tourism stakeholders. The Naha Port Management Group said it expects to make 22 calls in the three months to the end of May.

Since the New Coronavirus has been downgraded to “Category 5” in the Japanese Infectious Diseases Act, which is the same as seasonal influenza, there is a possibility that the policy for accepting cruise ships will change, so there will be variability after June. In addition, the number of calls may be affected by the movement of cruise ships from and to China that have not yet been scheduled to restart.

The number of cruise ship calls at Naha port reached 260 in 2019, ranking first in Japan. The construction of the terminal saw significant growth after 2014, increasing fivefold in 10 years. Most of them are international cruise ships.

Meanwhile, the number of inbound tourists to Okinawa has continued to increase, reaching nearly 3 million in 2019, increasing to more than 10 times the number 10 years ago. More than 40% of them are cruise ship passengers.