Japan: Action plans for tourism recovery
More than three months have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Recovery work in the affected areas is well under progress and life and business in Japan is continuing as normal in most parts of the country, including popular destinations for Australians, such as Hokkaido, Nagano, Kyoto and Tokyo. However, Japan’s tourism industry was severely affected and according to visitor number statistics released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), estimated figures for April and May have decreased by 62.5% and 50.4% respectively.
Aiming to fully recover inbound tourism to Japan, JNTO is undertaking several emergency action plans on a global scale. By the end of July we plan to host large-scale familiarisation tours, inviting to Japan a total of 1,000 travel industry professionals and media representatives from around the world. More than 610 travel agents and 390 journalists from 15 countries, such as Australia, USA, England, Korea and China will be invited to see first-hand that Japan is safe, the progress it has made in the short three months post-earthquake and to reinforce the beauty and vibrancy of Japan.
In Australia, JNTO’s campaign activities will be carried out throughout June ~ August and will include:
- travel agents and media familiarisation trips to Japan
- advertisements in major Australian newspapers and online
- Japan special reports in major Australian media outlets
Campaign activities will be rolled out in phases, with a priority to reassure travellers and restore consumer confidence in visiting Japan once more.
Around 60 travel agents from Australia are invited on the Travel Agents Familiarisation Trips and will visit Tokyo and Kyoto plus other historical and cultural areas such as: Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Toba, Ise and Kumano Kodo. In addition, JNTO Sydney invited 6 travel writers and journalists from prominent Australian newspapers and magazines to visit Japan and experience first-hand that Japan is well and open for business.
The month of June saw the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs’ SmartTraveller relaxing its overall travel advice to Japan to normal – “Be alert to own security”, apart for the affected areas around the Fukushima Power Plant.
“With summer and autumn travel seasons just around the corner, we hope to see more Australian travellers enjoy their vacation travel to Japan as usual”, commented Mr. Yukio Yamashita, Executive Director JNTO Sydney.
Japan National Tourism Organization launched and continues to update its Japan Travel Updates on its website, where up-to-date post-earthquake travel information is available; including information on current status of transportation, radiation levels, the safety of water and food services in Japan, press releases from
United Nations Organizations and live video reports and messages from Japan.