Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture seeking more business with Hong Kong

Kumamoto Vice Governor Toru Tajima speaking at a promotional event in Hong Kong on April 12.

HONG KONG, NNA – Japan’s southwestern prefecture of Kumamoto is further exploring Hong Kong markets for tourism and exports as it works to recover from the earthquake that hit the region three years ago.

The number of Hong Kong travelers staying overnight in Kumamoto surged 48 percent in 2018 from a year earlier to 127,630, prefectural data showed.

Budget carrier Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd., which will become part of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. later this year, had launched two weekly direct flights to Kumamoto in late 2017.

Kumamoto vice governor Toru Tajima told NNA in Hong Kong on Friday that the airline will add a third flight in July.

Tajima was in Hong Kong for the second anniversary of Roan restaurant in the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui. The restaurant serves food from Kumamoto and is financed by regional lender Higo Bank Ltd.

Koichiro Akutagawa, director of the Hong Kong representative office of Kumamoto, said the restaurant provides an outlet for 100 food suppliers in the prefecture.

In the past two years, the volume of food exports from Kumamoto to Hong Kong, including beef and strawberries, has risen 40 percent, according to Higo Bank President Yoshihisa Kasahara.