travel

Okinawa: the new Hawaii?

35 Comments
By Julian Ryall for The Journal (ACCJ)

It has breathtaking beaches and skies so blue you want to reach out and touch them. The islands have a distinctive history and a vibrant present. They have diving and shopping, cuisine and culture, entertainment, and a natural environment it is hard to find anywhere else.

Little wonder, therefore, that travelers from around the globe are flocking to Okinawa Prefecture.

Equally, the biggest names in the international tourism sector recognize that Okinawa has great potential for their businesses.

Japan, as a whole, has seen a surge in international arrivals in the past couple of years. Inbound tourists totaled 10.46 million in 2013, climbed to 13.41 million the following year, and soared to 19.737 million in 2015.

The national government’s target of 20 million visitors in 2020, the year of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, will likely be surpassed well in advance of that date.

And, while Japanese still account for 81 percent of holidaymakers arriving in Okinawa, just over 1.5 million foreign travelers visited the prefecture in 2015, a remarkable 68 percent leap from the previous year’s figure.

“At this rate of growth, Okinawa will definitely become as big as Bali or Hawaii, based on sheer numbers,” says Carl Bastian, managing director of Ryukyu World Office, an international tourism consultancy.

Bastian is serving his fifth term as chairman of the Tourism and Hospitality Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa (ACCO).

The anticipated number of arrivals in 2015 was 6.9 million, but the actual total was 7.76 million. Growth has been a steady 10 percent over the past three years. Those impressive figures have resulted in the raising of the 2021 target to 10 million visitors, of whom 2 million are expected to come from abroad.

“As long as peace prevails in the Asia–Pacific region, we should easily clear that as well,” Bastian believes.

Yet a number of hurdles must be overcome to achieve that figure. The main obstacle, as elsewhere in Japan, is a shortage of accommodation.

“The average beach resort enjoys an annual average occupancy rate of 80 percent, while city hotels are sitting at around 70 percent — meaning that a lot of the time they are either full or overbooked,” says Bastian. “There are simply not enough beds to meet demand in the high seasons.”

Aware of the potential, two of the world’s largest hotel brands, both headquartered in the United States — Hilton and Hyatt — have recently opened expansive new properties in Okinawa. Several more hospitality-related developments are close to completion or are in the planning stages.

NEW ASIA HOT SPOT

The Hilton Okinawa Chatan Resort opened in the summer of 2015, and has broken new ground by taking a prime location between Chatan’s port and the Mihama American Village—a complex with restaurants, bars, boutiques, cinema, bowling alley, live music venues, and even a Ferris wheel.

“The development of inbound tourism, mainly from Asia, is accelerating impressively, and the number of domestic tourists shows no signs of slowing,” says Timothy E. Soper, vice president of operations for Japan, Korea, and Micronesia for Hilton Worldwide.

“First, the location is attractive as there is convenient access from major cities around Asia,” says Soper, pointing out that Naha Airport is a 90-minute hop from Taipei, and just two-and-a-half hours from both Shanghai and Seoul.

“The delivery capacity of inbound travelers is significantly expanding due to an increase in the number of direct flights from major Asian cities, entry by low-cost carriers, and more port calls by cruise ships.

“Okinawa is one of the government’s major hubs for tourism promotion, while the prefecture has also independently developed the Okinawa Tourism Promotion Roadmap, and begun a full-scale vitalization process for its tourism industry.

“As a result, we anticipate infrastructure development and expansion of the islands’ public transportation, such as the monorail, to continue to develop.”

Other projects that are designed to attract more visitors, Bastian points out, are the construction of a new runway at Naha Airport, due to be completed in 2019, and a second berth for cruise liners to dock at the nearby ship terminal.

In terms of tourist attractions, discussions are apparently ongoing between the Japanese company that operates Disney domestically and the prefectural government, for the creation of a new theme park on the site of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, as soon as its present tenants are relocated.

Similarly, Universal Studios Japan is reportedly exploring opportunities in the prefecture. There are also suggestions that a large-scale casino complex is under consideration.

Any projects on such a scale will put Okinawa on the map even more emphatically, Bastian says, and will help turn the prefecture’s islands into “a major international destination.”

BED — AND VIEW — FOR THE NIGHT

Hence, in part, the flurry of new hotel developments.

Hilton already has one of its Double Tree brand properties in Naha, while a second hotel, the Hilton Naha Shuri Castle, is on target to open July 1. The company has confirmed to The Journal that it intends to bring more of its luxury brands to Okinawa, including to some of the prefecture’s outlying islands.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is to open the 200-room Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort in mid-2016, with 45 rooms scheduled to be added in early 2017. Even institutional investors have seen the potential, with Morgan Stanley “flexing its muscles in the market” and expected to have no fewer than three management contracts in the near future, sources said.

Japanese developers are also moving swiftly to snap up opportunities, with Okinawa-based Terrace Hotels opening a new property this month and Hoshino Resorts due to break ground on their first hotel on the main island next year.

Ken Corp. is also working on a luxury hotel, while Mori Trust has two properties taking shape on the main island and another on Irabu Island, in the Miyako island group.

The ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort is also upgrading its facilities and services to secure its reputation as one of the most spectacular locations on the main island of Okinawa.

The hotel occupies a graceful curve atop a pit of land beside a serene bay on the west coast, and is working closely with the local community to regenerate nearby coral reefs.

KPG Hotel & Resorts, based in Osaka, is planning its next high-end property in Okinawa. Work is under way to add another 80 suites to the company’s impressive Kafuu Resort Fuchaku on the main island’s central west coast. The property is unusual for Okinawa, in that it has condos as well as hotel rooms, both of which offer spectacular ocean views.

“Our occupancy rate was 84 percent in the year to December and we have very definitely benefitted from the government’s decision to relax visas for tourists from China, South Korea, and Taiwan,” says Masao Tanaka, managing director and chief operations officer.

The hotel, a member of ACCO, is also a firm favorite with American guests, winning the Stars and Stripes newspaper award for the best lodging in the Pacific for three straight years, as well as being recognized for operating an international internship program with the University of Central Florida and Johnson & Wales University, in Rhode Island.

“Our brand has a good reputation and a good following in the region, and we now wish to expand that into new markets,” says Tanaka. “We are particularly interested in the Middle East, as that is a region where consumers are wealthy and they like to travel.

“It would also serve as a demonstration of the pull of Okinawa as a holiday destination,” he adds.

The Hyatt Regency Naha Okinawa is the latest addition to the southern capital’s skyline, having opened in July 2015.

The hotel occupies arguably the most sought-after spot in the city: Sakurazaka, or cherry blossom hill. It has been worked in alongside the existing traditional Okinawan-style community of low buildings, roofs with orange tiles, and each home with a pair of shisa lion-dogs from local mythology protecting the entranceway.

The hotel is just 200 meters from Kokusai-dori, the main drag of bars, restaurants, and shops that runs through the heart of Naha, and the airport is just 20 minutes away by car. From the upper floors, Shuri Castle can be seen atop the hill that dominates the entire city.

“We are finding that Okinawa is benefitting from repeat visitors to Japan,” says Takashi Nakamura, deputy director of sales and marketing.

“These are the people who have been to Japan before and visited Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, but want to go somewhere new and different.

“It also helps that low-cost carriers like Peach and JetStar are now flying direct to Naha, and when the new runway is completed it will triple the flight capacity of the airport.”

Rachel Davidson, general manager of Hilton’s Chatan property and newly elected president of ACCO, says she is “delighted” to have been given the opportunity to lead “such a stunning property in a great destination.”

“Okinawa is deservedly enjoying record increases in tourist visits,” she told The Journal. “It offers a unique culture, wonderfully hospitable Okinawan people, beautiful beaches and landscape, nine [UNESCO] World Heritage Sites, great local cuisine, excellent weather, exciting water activities, and shopping and dining experiences.”

And the chamber intends to do everything in its power to build on those foundations.

“The ACCO’s mission is to facilitate an environment for current and prospective American businesses to flourish in Okinawa,” she said.

“We have a number of key priorities in 2016 to further the development of commerce and trade with Okinawa and to ensure that we are able to maximize opportunities for our ACCO members, including strengthening partnerships and continuing to build on strong relationships with our business and local communities, local governments, educational institutions, and fellow organizations.

“These mutually beneficial relationships provide support for our businesses and create opportunities for us all.”

Custom Media publishes The Journal for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

© Japan Today

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.


35 Comments
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There is some misleading information in the article here, while yes there has been a huge surge in tourism, hotel space is not the biggest obstacle, there are hotels that have only 50% of their rooms actually open because they do not have staff to operate effectively. There are nearly 500 hotels and resorts in Okinawa NOW.

Jobs in the hotel industry here are for the most part, not very desirable because of the low pay and long work hours.

Also included in the article were references to "new" hotels being opened, those "new" hotels have been around for decades and are just getting cosmetic face-lifts and are reopening under new ownership and names.

Also conveniently NOT mentioned in the article is the number of problems that this increase in tourism is causing here as well. The infrastructure of the island is not going to be able to keep handling the increasing numbers of people coming here. The population of Okinawa, people actually living here, is increasing yearly, number two in all Japan, after Tokyo, everywhere else in the country the population is falling.

Okinawa depends upon rain for water, and the hotels use a majority of that resource and Okinawa yearly faces the potential for water rationing, because of it. As hotels and guests increase, the volume of water used increases dramatically as well.

There has been an increase in crime, accidents, and numerous other incidents involving tourists too.

Yes there is much good that comes from tourists here in Okinawa, but not everything is so "bright". BTW I work in the tourism industry here, and I enjoy many of the benefits of having an increase in business, but it is getting harder and harder to find qualified people to work, even when offering highly competitive wages and benefits.

That is a BIGGER obstacle than not enough rooms.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

Thanks for the insight Yubaru.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It was suggested several years ago on this page that Okinawa become the Las Vegas/Hawaii of Asia. SK has several casino resorts that are more "fair weather" resorts. A recent article on JT reported on the increase in tourism in Japan and SK. It is especially high for Japan now and in the future because tourist either want to beat the Olympics flood or just come to the Olympics. What happens after the games are done? A stable tourist based economy rather than a military based economy will have a tremendous financial benefit.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Taking all the wrong lessons from Hawaii as well, it would seem

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There are some nice places in Okinawa but many of the hotels are outrageously expensive, for example Y40000 - Y50000 per night for two adults and a child. For less money we can fly to the Philippines and stay in a luxury hotel there instead.

I know that it is possible to stay in a Toyoko Inn or similar in Naha for much less, but that's not my idea of a fun holiday.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Yubaru makes the some good points. Tourism is about the worst paying sector of the economy, and Okinawa has water shortages already. Many buildings on Okinawa have big water tanks on their roofs to alleviate the problems with supply. The point about the "new" hotels is also true. Many of the big chains are franchisers and its common for investment funds to buy existing hotels and then rebrand them as a Hilton or whatever. It happened with the Niseko Prince in that middle resort there.

Compared to Hawaii, mainland Okinawa doesn't really work as a beach resort for ordinary tourists for almost half the year. In Hawaii you can swim comfortably in February. The sea off mainland Okinawa is still a bit chilly in mid April. My family is pretty hardy and we were happy to swim Ishigaki (the warmest island) in early December, but we were just about the only people doing it. Most Okinawa tourists will be Asians, and they feel the cold. Anyone doing a short break to Okinawa during summer season could spend most of their holiday holed up in their hotel waiting out a typhoon.

I love Okinawa and have been five times. Ishigaki twice, Miyako once and Honto twice. If you don't mind a slightly chilly sea, offseason resort hotels are the best value accommodation I've ever had in Japan. Huge rooms, fantastic buffet food, pools, and step onto the beach locations for cheaper than some mediocre pension in Nagano who may near full price for a shogakusei. If money is no object to you though, Hawaii has better weather in the form of warmer winters and milder, non sticky summers. I know a lot of Europeans who are turned off by Hawaii, but it's a great destination.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If I ever do go back to Okinawa it would be to one of the smaller Islands, I wasn't particularly taken with the main island. I'm with Scrote in that I would rather go to the Philippines or even Taiwan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Okinawans could aim to become the new Hawaii, or try harder and become the Singapore of the North perhaps?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okinawa is awesome and definitely has potential. I guess the biggest issue is handling inbound international flights, for which there are very few. I flew from Sydney & it was a nightmare. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the biggest difference between Hawaii & Okinawa is that there is simply no surf in Okinawa. Great for the masses interested in shopping, dining & chilling out, but not a place for surfers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the biggest difference between Hawaii & Okinawa is that there is simply no surf in Okinawa. Great for the masses interested in shopping, dining & chilling out, but not a place for surfers.

I love Okinawa, and I'm not one for shopping or dining out. I love that there is no surf; the reefs keep the beaches nice and calm for snorkelling. Surfers can go to Hawaii or parts of Japan with big surfer waves. I'm looking forward to introducing the grandkids to nice beaches with gently lapping waves this summer.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

In terms of tourist attractions, discussions are apparently ongoing between the Japanese company that operates Disney domestically and the prefectural government, for the creation of a new theme park on the site of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, as soon as its present tenants are relocated.

OMFG don't do this Okinawa, what on earth are you thinking!! This would be beyond OBSCENE!!

The Hyatt Regency Naha Okinawa ......The hotel occupies arguably the most sought-after spot in the city: Sakurazaka, or cherry blossom hill. It has been worked in alongside the existing traditional Okinawan-style community of low buildings, roofs with orange tiles, and each home with a pair of shisa lion-dogs from local mythology protecting the entranceway.

I stayed there last year nice hotel but PLEASE don't lie by insinuating it blends in with local buildings, its just another large-ish hotel!!

The hotel is just 200 meters from Kokusai-dori, the main drag of bars, restaurants, and shops that runs through the heart of Naha, and the airport is just 20 minutes away by car.

It is good for this!

I love Okinawa & might start thinking about looking into idea's to move down that way or to other islands as I get a bit older, Mrs isn't into it but to hell with her haha!!

I just hope all this ""development"" doesn't ruin the islands!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jobs in the hotel industry here are for the most part, not very desirable because of the low pay and long work hours.

Thanks, Yubaru. What jobs are desirable, then? It's not like Okinawa is an industrial powerhouse.

I did have some awesome yuzu jam from there. Wish I could find it again.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I just hope all this ""development"" doesn't ruin the islands!!

Agreed! I wish Okinawa would look at other means of boosting their economy vice commercializing it with tourism. Already, you can barely get anywhere as roads are filled with the terrible driving of Chinese, Taiwanese, and Korean tourist.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I just don' see it happening. Abe says he cannot conceive a Japan without US presence. So I don't think Okinawa will be the next Hawaii.

World travellers hear about incidents of US servicemen raping local women. More recently a "tourist" from Fukuoka.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I've lived in both places and love them both. Yet, I've noticed Hawaii getting more and more expensive to live in recently. It's even expensive as a traveler as even many of the beaches have tolls to pay (e.g. Hanauma Bay). Also, places like Waikiki, Kailua, and Ewa are not as clean as they once were. There are still nice unspoiled places to go, but they are all on the neighbor islands like Kauai and Maui.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's even expensive as a traveler as even many of the beaches have tolls to pay (e.g. Hanauma Bay).

Virtually all of Hawai'i's beaches are--by law--public beaches, free and open to anyone; Hanauma Bay specifically requires a "toll" because it is also managed as a unique nature preserve and marine life conservation district, which requires controlling access to prevent damage to reefs and the fish that live on them.

The similarities between Okinawa and Hawai'i go beyond tourism: Both were kingdoms overthrown by hostile forces, whose native cultures were subsequently repressed nearly into extinction (although a cultural and linguistic revival, beginning in the 1970s, has succeeded in bringing Hawai'i's back from the brink in a way that has yet to be seen in Okinawa); both rely heavily on U.S. military spending, though the extensive military presence in Hawai'i stirs less controversy than it does in Okinawa; both lack any significant industry aside from tourism and the military; both suffer high costs of living unmatched by prevailing wages--in Hawai'i, where tourism has been a primary driver of employment for decades, the percentage of people having to hold two or more jobs to maintain even a borderline middle-class lifestyle is higher than just about anywhere else in the U.S.; both have similar concerns about limited water supply and other infrastructure issues (though I think traffic on Oahu is worse than anything you'd see in Okinawa).

The few times I've stayed at major hotels in Okinawa, many of the staff I spoke to were young people from other parts of Japan--some from as far away as Hokkaido. At the time, many corporations had begun moving their domestic call centers to Okinawa (among other regional destinations), and there were hopes that would provide something of an economic boost--even as it risked leaving the tourist industry in the lurch by siphoning off workers--but those jobs didn't pay much better than tourism-related work, and some of those companies have since moved their customer support operations to even lower-paying centers in China and elsewhere.

Still, I think there's no reason Okinawa shouldn't be able to take smart advantage of the rise in visitors--except that controlled, environmentally-sound development has never been a strong point of either the public or private sector in Japan (or anywhere else, for that matter), and unfortunately, short-term thinking is more likely to prevail over longer-term concerns about growth, infrastructure, and ecological destruction.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There's a "well-kept secret" in Okinawa that this ACCJ puff-piece omits - with mass tourism comes bland replica hotels. Even (or especially) those owned by the big US chains are just so-so value-wise, and all have the same rooms, service, food, and amenities. What Okinawa should have are more boutique and specialty accommodations that put visitors closer to what is left of the real Okinawa.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

maybe the american hotels can send busloads of tourists to play slot machines on the bases and eat pizza and hamburgers at the food courts. maybe even give f-15 rides and keep all of the tourist money? maybe marines can charge for helicopter rides because president trump want bases to make money. trump hotels on the bases and trump casinos?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Okinawa is a gem that many dont know about unless its bad things happening on the news. Many of us got to stay there for free and enjoy the beaches that the U.S. military has access too. I dont agree that there arent enough people in the hospitality industry to work there; all they have to do is provide dorms and the young Japanese would be down there tomorrow and work for min. wage. The place has too much to offer like its very rich history and cuisine. Karate was born there as was many dishes you find on the mainland. If the US military left or was reduced, it could become a very large and self sustaining economy. The climate alone would attract workers and its location is excellent for tourism and international trade.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

5petals APR. 08, 2016 - 08:22AM JST If the US military left or was reduced, it could become a very large and self sustaining economy.

It's nothing more than the dream. US and Japan government has invested Okinawa for long term.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Why not in Japan too?

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), is a process by a United States federal government commission to increase United States Department of Defense efficiency by planning the end of the Cold War realignment and closure of military installations. More than 350 installations have been closed in five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005. (Wikipedia)

Congressmen speak of reducing military spending. Military bases are expensive to operate, yet another domestic base closing round is unlikely. However, the President can close any foreign base without Congressional approval. Polls show the vast majority of American citizens support the closure most U.S. military bases overseas.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Steve Fabricant APR. 08, 2016 - 09:02AM JST However, the President can close any foreign base without Congressional approval. Polls show the vast majority of American citizens support the closure most U.S. military bases overseas.

The military expansion in China affects every country, not only Japan, but other countries near the South and East China Sea. It’s important for everyone to get China engaged and check their military.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

re: the boutique hotel comment, I don't know now with the LCC, but the cheapest way to go to Okinawa via JAL, ANA or their cheaper sub-brands is to go on a package. We never go peak season, but slightly offseason, the price of a flights and three night package is usually the same as booking three nights direct at the same hotel. You get the flights effectively for free. Sometimes free car rental thrown in too. So unless the boutique places can hook up the airlines for the same deals, they're going to work out much more expensive. A couple of boutique style pensions I've seen in the past refused to take kids under twelve, so that also makes them a non-starter for me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

sorry compared to asian destination like Cambodia Thailand, bali, Philipinnes, Okinawa is way too expensive. the food in Thailand and Cambodia is awesome and cheap. Ive been to all these places and Okinawa doesnt come close interest and value for money.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

wtfjapan

Okinawa food may be expensive comparing with South East Asian destination. However those nations can not beat the longevity and uniqueness of Okinawa. Their cheap food may be unhealthy and high in sodium and glucose. Those food are one way tickets to the heaven.

As someone born and grow up in Myanmar( Burma) located in SE Asia, I am so impressive about Okinawans diet, life style and physical well being. In my homeland, there are not many people can live long enough as Elderly Okinawans. Their healthy food and activities are the major contributing factors.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

will Okinawa be the next pearl habor?

Only time will tell if the US continues to antagonize with China

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Okinawa is a beautiful island and its people extremely pleasant and nice. As a long-time resident I have seen the island transform from a small tourist destination to what it has become. Unlike Hawaii temperate drop during winter months making ocean activities, for the most part dormant. As much as I love Okinawa, in this aspect, it doesn’t compare to Hawaii. Okinawa, when compared to Hawaii, is an affordable getaway. During key times of the year Okinawa is run over with rental cars that clog roads for many of the islands’ residents. Statistically wise I don’t know the overall impact but I do know the commute time for many of my acquaintances increases and delays to the office/place of work and heading home are caused by rental car related accidents. This is part of island growth and prosperity. Like any area with a desire to attract more tourists the eco system suffers. As an ocean going person I personally witness more and more track washing up on beaches and during summer months see shinny skims on the oceans surface. I believe the shiny skims are created from cosmetics and sun screen washing of vacationers as they enter the ocean. Although I’ve seen coral growth is some areas I have seen more areas that appear to be dying. Okinawa has been known for its beautiful water and coral reefs but with the increase tourisms these areas are being affected. Bottom line, be careful of what you wish for in the form of prosperity because when on side prospers the other suffers. If you decide to visit Okinawa or any area respect the local people and their life style and try to leave the location the way it was when you arrived. Keep all tourist destination clean, safe for future generations to also enjoy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Zenpun well were not talking about longevity are we were talking about what makes a good tourist destination, you can live anywhere in Japan and the diet is healthy and the weather is much better than the sticky heat of Okinawa, id actually prefer to live in Hokkaido than Okinawa

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is rich! Okinawa, the new Hawaii??? Come on. Having been in Okinawa for my 25th anniversary two years ago and just having returned from Hilo, I can say that Okinawa can not even come close to what Hawaii has to offer: Hawaii tropical Botanical Gardens (Okinawa has none), Volcano National Park, one of the world's tallest mountains, Maunea Kea (unfortunately we could get to the top on the day we went because of hurricane force winds at the top, Hula competition from elementary, junior high and high school students (everything in Okinawa is stuff that is "on display" and paid for--very little community based cultural activities, and then there is Kona, horse back riding, Fantastic views,marvelous waterfalls (Rainbow falls, Akaka falls), and then swimming in white sands and black sand beaches. From our BEAUTIFUL and authentic BB, run by an Irish woman married to a 4th generation Japanese-American, our Hawaiian style home was minutes from both kinds of beaches, where a huge sea turtle was, and would swim with my wife. Plus there are just other marvelous other islands! The BB was realatively cheap too, 15,000 yen a night, and she supplied snorkling equipment and lots of advice. Very personal--something the Japan has to work on. My second child, however likes Honolulu somit will be bye bye to the empty, anti-social Japanese education system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Great Stephen Fabricant, your reasoned assessment of Okinawa vs Hawaii is correct, I love the idea of closing ALL bases in Asia NOW! And yes the polls show and have showin for the past 20 years that the American people WANT the bases CLOSED.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hope that the government of Okinawa will do everything in it's power to protect and preserve culture and environment or else give it about 5-10 years and islands will be filled with trash and filth; total destruction of pristine beaches and other natural habitats. Good luck!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I can say that Okinawa can not even come close to what Hawaii has to offer

Don't forget that Hawaii also has to offer the beautiful growing sights of homeless you'll see at places like Aala park and Ala Moana Beach park.

http://www.bustle.com/articles/117795-why-is-hawaiis-homeless-population-so-high-the-governor-declared-a-state-of-emergency-because-of

You also should be careful about the waters around the Ala Wai and Ala Moana, since it can be really dirty and disgusting. Also, I'd advise against swimming in any river or ponds in Hawaii as they all may contain leptospirosis and other contaminants:

http://www.hawaiigaga.com/HealthGuide.aspx

I do agree that Hawaii is one of the safest U.S. states to visit, but please don't think it's completely safe. There is a growing crime rate against tourists, rising incidents of road rage, and a never-ending supply of prostitutes. It is ranked 6th in the U.S. in property crime, so please do be careful. I would advise never leaving any purchased items or valuables on your car seat (even if the car is locked). Make sure it is an enclosed trunk.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Although there are some safety concerns Hawaii is still one of the safest tropic destination in the world and each of the Hawaiian Islands is amazing with lush scenery and a bright blue ocean perfect. It's majestic in its own way and the islands is enhanced by its extensive history, origin, beautiful beaches and is biologically unique. If you want to enjoy unsurpassed natural beauty steeped in Polynesian culture and colonial history go visit a surf town. Just wonderful and a nice place to visit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Okinawa has potential. There's just one big thing that sets it behind...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hawaii has some of the most beautiful and relatively pristine islands in the world. Because of this many mainlanders, rich and poor, have chosen it as the destination to live long term driving up housing costs while wages have remained stagnant. This has resulted in strain on the infrastructure, higher costs of living and, pricing out the local population to affordable housing.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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