Okinawa Convention Center unfazed by higher consumption tax

THE impending upward adjustment of Japan’s consumption tax from the current five per cent to eight starting this April is not expected to affect Okinawa Convention Center’s (OCC) business, according to the venue’s MICE coordinator, Naomi Nakaza.

With a long history of 27 years as well as being the biggest convention space in Okinawa, OCC has its source markets from mainland Japan and overseas, especially Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and South Korea.

The centre has a discount policy that has been offering special rates to event organisers, such as 20-70 per cent less for international events with more than 10 attendees, and 10 per cent less for the rental of all OCC facilities for large-scale events.

Nakaza said the discount policy will continue albeit the implementation of the higher consumption tax in the country’s new financial year, but adjustments to the qualifying criteria can be expected, such as a minimum of 20 attendees may be required for events to enjoy the same 20-70 per cent discount.

Asked if OCC would expect business to suffer as a result, she said: “Previously, when the same tax was raised from three to five per cent – and in a short space of time – we did not lose much business.

Therefore this time, we believe we will continue to do well especially with support from our regular customers who believe in our offerings. We also expect that Japan’s economy will improve from now.”

OCC offers 10 conference rooms of varying sizes in two separate buildings, a 2,500m2 exhibition hall and a 1,709-seat theatre hall. Other supporting facilities include dressing rooms for performances and a tatami room for resting.

While maintenance and minor enhancements are regularly carried out in the premises, the centre’s most recent renovation was a massive repair work to its theatre hall following a typhoon that shattered the space’s glass wall, a spectacular stage backdrop that brings in panoramic views of the ocean.

Several of the centre’s conference spaces also boast a feature glass wall with an ocean or garden view, a unique offering that has been drawing event organisers and the wedding market from mainland Japan.

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