More Tohoku tourism sought

posted on March 13, 2016

The government will gear up its promotion drive in the Tohoku region, naming 2016 as the region's "inaugural year of tourism reconstruction" in the basic post-disaster reconstruction policy adopted at Friday's Cabinet meeting.

The number of international overnight visitors in the six prefectures of the Tohoku region is stagnating partly because of concerns resulting from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Whether the government can resolve such concerns will likely be key in attracting more foreign visitors.

During Thursday's press conference, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the government's target to increase the annual numbers of international overnight visitors in the six prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima to 1.5 million in 2020, triple last year's figure of about 500,000.

The government is scheduled to increase the fiscal 2016 reconstruction budget related to tourism in the Tohoku region to ¥5 billion, ten times the 2015 budget. It plans to establish a subsidy program for measures to reconstruct tourism in Tohoku, aiming to support prefectural governments in implementing measures to promote tourism in each area.

There are voices within the government calling for a shift in focus from public works - such as rebuilding housing and constructing roads - to tourism promotion and industry invigoration in the five-year period from fiscal 2016, which has been dubbed the "reconstruction and revitalization period" from the 2011 disaster.

source by the-japan-news
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