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Universal Studios Okinawa or Tropical Refresh Resort? Why Okinawa needs Velociraptors.

Can Shisa and Velociraptors Co-exisit?

Can Shisa and Velociraptors Coexisit?

At the start of the year there were whispers in the air that Universal Studios might build a theme park in Okinawa. Not long after there were rumors that officials were considering both Nago’s  Neo Park, and Motobu’s Expo Park as possible locations.

In March, Glenn Gumpel (CEO of USJ) stated that they were considering a park in Okinawa. In the last few days it has been announced that the park will be a tropical resort with the theme of relaxation without the Universal name.

It’s wonderful that giant corporations are looking to invest in Okinawa. They can help it grow as a tourist destination, but I think a somewhat generic tropical resort may be a missed opportunity if USJ and the Okinawan Government are hoping for it to bring about a new surge in tourism.

There are already several excellent resorts that cater to those looking for a tropical paradise. Busena Terrace and Hotel Orion Motobu are both superb with luxurious facilities set on pristine beaches. If visitors want to sample traditional culture they can head to Okinawa World on the south coast or Ryukyu Mura in Yomitan.  What they are suggesting sounds too similar to what we already have.  Would it really draw in new tourists or simply move them around with existing businesses actually seeing a decrease in visitors.

Universal Studios could create a new park that large numbers of tourists especially international visitors will want to see. Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan can draw in people who otherwise wouldn’t have made the trip to Chiba or Osaka. They do this by having major attractions such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that can’t be seen elsewhere in Asia. 

Harry Potter however isn’t the solution for Okinawa. Blue skies and tropical heat just wouldn’t match Hogwarts or Diagon Alley. What Okinawa needs is another iconic movie series that is produced by Universal Pictures, ideally set on a tropical island, with characters that are liked by multiple generations. Bring on the velociraptors.

Jurassic Park at USJ

Jurassic Park at USJ

There’s already a Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios Japan, but it’s a single ride amongst many. Meanwhile, the Jurassic Park movie series has been brought back to life and is more popular than ever. Jurassic World is now the third biggest movie of all time. It has taken over $1.5 billion worldwide and it hasn’t even opened in Japan. They just announced a sequel in 2018 so dinomania isn’t ending anytime soon.

Jurassic Park at USJ

Jurassic Park at USJ

Jurassic World and Okinawa is too good a match to not at least consider the possibility of a movie themed park. You can still have your relaxing tropical paradise, but with the occasional triceratops.

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by

Travel writer and photographer living in Okinawa, Japan

3 Comments

  1. Awesome post mate! You could singlehandedly be the man who brought the velociraptors to Okinawa. Great work!

  2. I’m sincerely sorry to be a party-pooper here, but I think this needs to be said. Firstly, within the current global economic paradigm this really is a great idea Chris, and I’d wish you luck with it, except…..the construction industry (all that concrete, transportation of materials, and heavy machinery), together with the tourist industry (all that flying) are significant burners of fossil fuels contributing to global warming that 99.7% (or thereabouts) of climate scientists agree is, if allowed to continue, going to result in massive and dangerous changes to our climate and thus to our civilization. So what Okinawa, along with rest of the world, needs to do is to REDUCE emissions – massive investment in renewables is part of that story, but practically speaking a reduction in energy used is also vital, which precludes these kinds of projects (at least until they can be powered by renewables).

    Other than that though, it really is a great idea,it just doesn’t connect well with the rest of what we know about the state of the world.

    Again humble apologies for being a party-pooper.

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