Japan Tourism Recovery After Tsunami
March 11, 2011 marks one year to date when the horrific tsunami and earthquake hit Japan. The devastation took over 15, 000 lives and parts of the growing country demolished. The catastrophe hurt various steady and constant industries, including tourism.
Japan has begun to see some daylight with tourism growth in Tokyo and surrounding areas per a recent Newsday-Associated Press report. Shuichi Kameyama, director of the International Tourism Promotion Division at Japan Tourism Agency, stated tourist numbers in January this year are only 4% lower than January 2011. This is heading in the right direction, as projected tourist recovery would occur in 2012 by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Tokyo is one of the major areas for tourism. The three disasters caused a nuclear plant meltdown in Fukushima, about 180 miles from Tokyo. However, signs of recovery is showing in the hotel industry. Malcolm Thompson, general manager of The Peninsula Tokyo hotel, said in the report, “Corporate business is 95 percent back,” he said. “It’s really the high-end leisure traveler from America and Europe. They’re the ones we are not seeing yet. They’re the ones who are still very tentative about Japan. We here know that everything is fine and life is back to normal in most parts of Japan, but that’s not the perception.”
Promotional campaigns are being made by Japan to help tourism recover. Japanese tourism officials will be launching a “Japan: Thank You” campaign to build tourist support. In the US, they will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of flowering cherry trees to Washington DC, which draws a million people. In New York there will be marked what will be called “Japan Week”. Digital cherry blossom displays will be held in Times Square and “Dine Out for Japan-Restaurant Week from March 7-11. Donations will given toward the disaster relief.
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References: 3.9.12, Newsday-Associated Press, Beth J Harpaz-Japan tourism recovering a year after disaster