Travellers who are destined for an Asian retail therapy mission to cities like Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo can also consider including a quiet island stopover in the immediate vicinity. Okinawa is that island, a place that is only now starting to achieve some tourism visibility in North America, reports western editor, Ted Davis in this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.
Given its location at the virtual crossroads of Japan and China, Okinawa is much better known as a leisure/beach destination in the surrounding Asia region. Travellers from Japan, China, Hong Kong and next-door Taiwan, plus Korea and others, have learned the secret of this island escape in the East China Sea.
But it is now gaining some visibility on this side of the Pacific, not as a stand-alone destination, but as one included in multi-stop Asia city tour.
For instance, companies like Royal Scenic, Jade Tours and Marco Polo Tours are offering visits to Okinawa as a stopover destination, within itineraries that feature cities such as Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo.
Jade Tours in Vancouver is packaging three nights in Naha, a car rental in Okinawa and one night in Tokyo within an itinerary that then takes in Hong Kong.
A package by Royal Scenic combines stays in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with a visit to Okinawa, and offers extensions for travel to Southeast Asia. “Okinawa is a great destination for Canadians during our winter months,” said Vicky Ho, general manager of Royal Scenic in Richmond, BC.
Marco Polo Tours of Vancouver offers Okinawa as part of a Japan tour, or en route to other destinations in the region. After the Okinawa visit an itinerary can then include Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, said Jackie Ma, president of Marco Polo Tours in Vancouver.
The qualities that make Japan a favourite destination for many, such as safety and cleanliness, are also present in Okinawa. But add to that a laid-back lifestyle, plus abundant water sport activities and unique local food and drinks options, says Ma.
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Travel Courier.