Today, Costa Asia (www.costacruisesasia.com), the first international cruise line to enter the Asia Pacific in 2006 and Europe’s number one cruise company, escorted the 1,000,000th cruise passenger guest to Japan in 2015, calling in Fukuoka’s Hakata Port. Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) hosted a ceremony to welcome a family from Hangzhou, China sailing onboard Costa Serena, along with the Costa Serena Captain and an esteemed delegation of Japanese government officials. The event marked the first time 1,000,000 cruise line passengers have sailed into Japan within one calendar year.
Buhdy Bok, Costa Group Asia President said, “My team and I are excited and honored to send the first-ever 1,000,000th cruise ship passenger into Japan. This is a remarkable achievement for the Japanese tourism industry. We’re thrilled that our award-winning ‘Italy at Sea’ concept of casual family cruising has been a major contributor to Japan’s record-breaking tourism experience.”
Kiyoshi Ejima, Parliamentary Vice Minister of the MLIT, and Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukushima City presided over a ceremony at Hakata Port in Fukuoka, welcoming Zhang Yifan and his family from China, as well as Captain Giulio Valestra of Costa Serenato Japan.
“It’s wonderful that visitors have the opportunity to travel on a cruise liner around the Japan islands and to our port towns,” said Ejima. “We had originally set a target of 1 million inbound visitors by 2020, so it is very exciting to see this target being met five years ahead of schedule. Here in Fukuoka—and throughout Kyushu—there is exactly the kind of dynamic energy needed to drive further growth and inbound tourism to Japan. Congratulations to you all.”
Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukushima City added, “I am delighted to celebrate with you all the achievement of this important milestone. Overseas visitors to Fukuoka make a major contribution to the local economy, and in particular, the more lenient luggage allowance enjoyed by cruise passengers gives them free rein to shop as much as they like. We will continue to enhance our local infrastructures in order to ensure the best possible experience for both cruise passengers visiting Fukuoka and local residents alike. The opening of the new cruise center this year has been a major advance in that direction and I’m excited to see what more we can achieve together.”
The arrival of the 1,000,000th cruise passenger of 2015 into Japan comes at an exciting time as Costa’s expansion strategy in the burgeoning Asian market continues to gain momentum. Beginning in the summer of 2016, Costa will bring the new concept of casual family cruising to Japanese guests on board its ship the Costa Victoria to enjoy memorable, fun-filled cruises over a series of ten brand-new, Japan-based 6-day itineraries dedicated to Japanese travelers. The Costa Victoria will call to Fukuoka, Maizuru, Kanazawa, Matsue, and Pusan in South Korea.
The Costa Victoria itineraries include iconic attractions such as the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine and the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go, as well as rare jewels such as Kurayoshi, known as “Little Kyoto,” and the spectacular Adachi Museum of Art & Yuushien Japanese Garden. Guests can also explore the Yongdusan Park, which harmonizes Pusan Tower and 70 different species of trees.
Yusuke Itokawa, Costa Group Asia Japan Country Manager added, “We are very excited to offer our unique casual family cruising experience designed specifically for Japanese passengers beginning next year. We’ve enjoyed great success serving Japanese passengers to sail abroad. Soon, our Japanese guests will have the opportunity to set sail closer to home, to visit fascinating Japanese destinations with a touch of Korea, along with a remarkable experience of Costa’s ‘Italy at Sea’ attractions. It will be an adventure of a lifetime!”
Names of the photo (from left to right):
- Kouji Tanaka, Chairman of Kyushu Cruise Promotion Conference
- Yoshihiro Kawano, Member of the House of Councilors
- Ryota Takeda, Member of the House of Representatives
- Soichiro Takashima, Mayor of Fukuoka City
- Kiyoshi Ejima, Parliamentary Vice Minister of MLIT
- Zhang Yifan, the 1,000,000th cruise passenger to Japan in 2015
- Li Changhao, family member of Zhang Yifan
- Li Xinguo, family member of Zhang Yifan
- Giulio Valestra, Captain of Costa Seren