Japan reaching out to tourists

Almost a year after the March 11 disasters struck Japan and hit its tourism sector, authorities are still finding ways to draw tourists back.

Koreans and Singaporeans have consistently ranked among the top 10 inbound tourists to Japan before the March 11 disasters, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami, which knocked out the cooling systems of the Fukushima plant’s reactors.

Almost a year after the disasters hit, fears of a nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant still linger in the minds of would-be tourists, making travel to Japan a less attractive option.

That’s a concern tourism authorities are trying to tackle.

Japan National Tourism Organisation marketing & promotion executive director Mamoru Kobori said: “We can demonstrate Japan is not that dangerous anymore except some areas.

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Japan offers 10,000 free trips to foreigners

Japan will offer 10,000 foreigners free airfares to visit the country next year, in an attempt to boost the tourism industry which has been hit by the ongoing nuclear disaster, a report said today.

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to ask would-be travellers to submit online applications for the free flights, detailing which areas of the country they would like to visit, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said.

The agency will select the successful entrants and ask them to write a report about their trip which will be published on the Internet.

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Japan suffers as Chinese tourists stay home

Japan has been counting on an influx of Chinese tourists to boost its economy, but a tiff with China over the detention of a Chinese trawler captain has taken a toll on tourist numbers.

China, which sees the detention as illegal, has suspended talks with Japan on the launching of air services between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and major Chinese cities that were scheduled to begin late next month. Japan had hoped that the services, plus recently relaxed visa rules for Chinese citizens, would bring more mainland visitors here.

Reacting to the growing tension in bilateral ties, a Chinese company has already cancelled tours to Japan next month for some 10,000 employees.

Chinese tourists are now the biggest spenders among foreign visitors to Japan, and Tokyo has been banking on an influx of these tourists to boost its annual visitor arrivals to 20 million by 2017, from 6.8 million last year.

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