For decades, Hawaii has outshone Okinawa as an island destination for tourists. That looks about to change.
The number of visitors to the southern Japanese islands jumped 10.5 percent in the year ended March 31 to a record 8.77 million people, according to Okinawa prefecture data. That compares with the 8.93 million that went to Hawaii in 2016, an increase of 2.9 percent, Hawaii Tourism Authority data show. At this pace, Okinawa could overtake Hawaii as early as this year, according to Miwako Date, the chief executive officer of Japanese developer Mori Trust Co.