Okinawa provides grants to lure more workationers

A remote worker

Hotels in Okinawa Prefecture are teaming up with IT companies and other technology experts to attract business travellers for workations as Japan embraces remote working to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The southern Japan island chain’s travel sector showcased its latest developments at ResorTech Okinawa, a four-day exhibition for the tourism sector held from October 29 to November 1.

A remote worker at Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island

Miku Uezato, spokesperson for the International Trade Office at the Okinawa General Bureau of the Cabinet Office, said the Japanese government began promoting Okinawa as a place for teleworking two to three years ago but the Covid-19 caused them to intensify their efforts.

Under its Telework & Stay in Okinawa scheme, the Cabinet Office provides 80 per cent of the cost incurred to make facilities conducive for work, with the remaining 20 per cent covered by the facility.

Almost 40 lodgings, cafes and other facilities across the archipelago are part of the scheme, one-quarter of which have joined this financial year (April 2020 – March 2021).

Uezato says she expects facilities to continue to join as the government support will also be available next year.

Hiroaki Sakai, marketing communications manager at the Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island, says the hotel’s combination of exclusive location, five restaurants, marine activities and business work facilities are appealing to professionals seeking a workation.

“More and more people are teleworking or want to telework,” he said. “Here, they can relax while concentrating on business.”

Meanwhile, the Rizzan Sea-Park Hotel at Tancha Bay has developed individual workspaces and meeting rooms for business travellers including those equipped with outlets, printers, copiers, LED lights, monitors and speakers. The coastal hotel also offers workation packages that combine the use of the pool or spa.

Wellness Resort Okinawa Vacation Center, meanwhile, has launched a coworking lounge with workspaces of various sizes, as well as a bar and lounge for networking and socialising.

Kiichiro Miyagi, assistant manager of the web sales team at Kanucha Resort Okinawa, says his hotel is manning its coworking space with a robot.

“Visitors can talk directly with staff via our robot, which allows staff to do other work within our 300-room resort,” he said.

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