The Port Authority of Naha in Okinawa has announced a public tender for a second cruise berth, inviting cruise companies to participate on a public-private project basis.
The tender is part of Naha’s long range vision to create an East Asia cruise hub, seeing the region as the “Caribbean of Asia,” according to the tender document.
The target is to make Naha a turnaround port for air/sea programs.
Naha listed some of the qualities it is looking for in a cruise company partner to include having plans to use the Naha port and having itineraries that include a significant number of calls in Japan.
Plans call an agreement to be reached by the end of the year and for the second berth to be operational in 2022.
According to the port, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corporation, MSC Crociere and Genting Hong Kong have submitted proposals.
According to local sources, Genting Hong Kong is the favorite to win the tender.
Further details are slated to be released on Sept. 4.
Naha also said that the Japanese government’s forecast is for 5 million cruise passengers to visit Japan in 2020.
The Okinawa government has its own cruise strategy, targeting 2 million foreign cruise passengers by 2021.
In the latest official government statistics available, Japan saw 2,017 cruise calls in 2016, with Okinawa receiving the biggest share with 388 calls. Naha added that in 2017, it received 515 calls.
Okinawa also has four other ports that plans to enter cruise service.