Today, Tuesday 8th March, the Routes Asia route development forum was officially handed over from Manila in the Philippines to Okinawa in Japan – the host destination for 2017.
Routes Asia brings together leading airlines, airports and their stakeholders to discuss air services to, from and within Asia. The Philippine Department of Tourism has hosted over 900 delegates from 110 airlines and 220 airports and destinations at this year’s event in Manila.
The 16th Routes Asia forum will be the first to take place in Japan. With the third highest GDP in the world, a population of 120 million and 110 million air passengers every year, Japan is an attractive market for the aviation industry. The 2017 event will be hosted by Okinawa Prefecture and supported by Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Okinawa is one of the most popular leisure destinations in Japan – over seven million tourists travel there every year to enjoy the subtropical climate, crystal clear sea, tranquil beaches, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and unique culture.
Investment in local infrastructure means that Okinawa’s tourism industry will continue to grow. Naha Airport is carrying out terminal expansion works as part of its aim to become a gateway between Asia and Japan, and a second runway will be built by 2020. Ishigaki Airport was replaced by New Ishigaki Airport in 2013 to provide a longer runway for larger aircraft.
Flight times between Okinawa and most East Asian cities are within four hours, making it relatively easy to travel to. Direct flights are available from Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Hong Kong, Seoul and Shanghai.
Katie Bland, Director of Routes, said: “As the first Routes Asia to be held in Japan, Okinawa will bring Routes to a new and growing market. Okinawa is a beautiful destination and the expansion of its airports means that there is plenty of scope for new air service.”
Akimitsu Miyazato, Senior Specialist at Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau, said: “It is our honour to host Routes Asia 2017. I hope a lot of delegates join us for the event and enjoy our nature, culture and people – there is a lot to see in Okinawa.”
Routes Asia 2017, Okinawa Convention Center, 19-22 March 2017, Okinawa, Japan.