For centuries Japan was a nation defined by isolation, fiercely guarded against foreign influence. Now however the Japan Tourism agency have announced that they will be running an massive initiative to boost tourism in the Land of the Rising Sun. They are to gift 10,000 air fares to foreigners.
The image of Japan in the world has suffered following recent disasters. The earthquakes and tsunami that occurred in March, and particularly the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power station have left the world at large unwilling to book trips to the country. The Japan Tourism Agency is keen to shift this perception and get the message out that the country is open for business as usual.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan is said to have dropped by 32% during August, when compared to the same month last year.
Japan’s tourism bosses had previously enlisted pop star Lady Gaga to help promote the country. Gaga had released an album of songs to raise funds after the disasters. Actually paying people to visit the country however takes the effort of the Japan Tourism Agency to another level.
More than a billion Yen are to be spent on the scheme. This is equivalent to about 10% of the agencies budget for next year. This could actually be a very smart way to spend the money, as it only covers flights all other costs such as accommodation will have to be met by the winners. This should provide a vital boost to hoteliers and other businesses during this tough time.
Those wishing to take advantage of Japan’s very generous offer will have to submit a detailed online application. This application will call for visitors to identify which areas of the country that they are interested in seeing. Those who are successful will be compelled to write a report on their visit. These reports will be published online as part of a publicity drive.