I was part of the national tourism agency in Japan, which saw a decline of over 60% in tourism activity in the first three months following the March 11th tsunami and earthquake, despite a discrete stimulus during this summer. The aim would be to revive tourism in Japan. The Japanese government plans to offer airline tickets to 10,000 foreign bloggers, as reported in the famous Japanese newspaper ‘Yomiuri’ since its publication on October 10th, causing a small turmoil in the online world.
Although many Westerners have concerns about the potential dangers of radiation, the main objective is clearly to demonstrate that traveling in Japan is still feasible. Bloggers have the option to sign up through an online application form, where they can explain the purpose of their website, outline their travel itinerary, and pledge to publish a detailed report on their blog and social media platforms. As a result, the Japanese government is prepared to allocate a budget of 1.1 billion Yens (equivalent to over 10 million US Dollars) to provide round-trip flights to Japan starting from the spring of 2012.
Lodging, conveyance like the Japan Rail Pass, excursions, …. Would need to encompass all additional costs for travelers. Overall, the tourism sector in Japan could derive advantages from this, if accurate, the strategy of the Japanese government would be unprecedented as far as I know. In order to promote tourism on the smallest among the four primary islands of Japan, the Japanese entity ‘Shikoku Muchujin’ has been inviting five bloggers annually to explore Shikoku since 2009. However, this initiative is not novel, and this endeavor might appear unexpected.
Following the initial announcement from JNTO, officials and embassies have been overwhelmed with a multitude of questions. The Japanese tourist net has been abuzz with a significant amount of interest in the free airline tickets to Japan, with approximately 10,000 tickets available. This information has generated a great deal of attention.
Until the Japanese Ministry of Finance validates this budget, bloggers around the globe will not receive any complimentary tickets. However, even though Japan and the Tourist Office are eager to enhance travel from Westerners on its land, the Japanese government has not yet given its approval to this project.
If you want to participate in a contest, Japan will choose among the bloggers who submit motivated applications. However, it will not be based on a “first come, first served” basis. Only online applications from March 2012 onwards will be accepted. There are already a few official forms available online, but be careful as there may be fraudulent websites offering sign-ups. Currently, there is no official form available, so please refrain from signing up on any random webpage you find on the internet.
Disneyland Tokyo visit, exploring Kyoto and indulging in some shopping are all part of my upcoming trip to Japan. The Japanese Tourism Office, represented by spokesman Kameyama Shuichi, aims to promote new ideas and experiences for travelers to Japan.
The budget will be endorsed by Parliament, and we will have to wait until March 2012. The Ministry of Finance should consult the public again on this matter, as the Japanese government’s decision on the official planning will not be made until the end of December 2011, please keep in mind.
Earlier this week, Mizohata Hiroshi, the Secretary of the National Japan Tourist Office, officially confirmed in this press release that in 2012, the Japanese government will invite ten thousand foreign bloggers to Japan and provide them with round-trip tickets from their home countries, as well as additional information.
Many questions remain unanswered now. How long can these tickets be used for? What is the exact list of eligible countries? The first trips offered are bound to begin in the earliest Summer of 2012.
In 2010, Japan welcomed 8.61 million visitors, indicating a growth of 26.8%. The number for 2011 is expected to decline significantly.
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The Japanese government has confirmed in a press release this morning that it has rejected the proposal to provide free flights to Japan in the budget.
This autumn 🍁 there were many reports about the Japan Tourism Agency proposing to give away 10,000 free flights to Japan in 2012. After the proposal was reported, people from around the world sent messages to Japan National Tourism Organization saying they would like to participate in the programme to visit Japan and to help revitalize Japan’s tourism industry following the March 2011 earthquake. So it is with regret that the Japanese Government announced the budget for this proposal has been declined, so the flight give away will not be going ahead.
Thanks to the support of the international community, Japan is making vigorous progress towards reconstruction in the earthquake and tsunami affected northeast of Japan, but recovery from the earthquake continues to be a pressing issue.
“We realise that this announcement is going to disappoint thousands of people around the world, but we hope people will understand how insensitive it would appear for the Japanese Government to give people free flights to Japan when the cities, towns and villages devastated by the tsunami are still in desperate need of funding for reconstruction. We also would not want people thinking that the generous donations given from around the world to aide those affected by the disaster was being spent on giving people free flights.
The places most popular with visitors to Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone, Osaka, Hiroshima, Sapporo and Okinawa – were outside the earthquake and tsunami affected areas. Please do not let the fact that there will be no free flights put you off visiting Japan. There are lots of great deals available and Japan is ready and waiting to welcome back visitors more warmly than ever before,” said Kylie Clark, Head of PR & Marketing, Japan National Tourism Organization.