In an eager bid to encourage tourists back to its shores following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) plans to give away 10,000 free flights to Japan.
The proposal is still in the early stages and is not definite, but if approved, it would go ahead sometime during April 2012. Those who are interested in visiting Japan will be required to submit an online application, stating which area of Japan they wish to visit and agreeing to write a review of their trip when they return. These reviews will be published online, in the hope that they’ll persuade and inspire others to visit Japan.
Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor and author of For Fukui’s Sake: two years in rural Japan, commented:
“The free flight giveaway is an excellent idea and clever PR move by the JTA to get people visiting Japan again. The country is an incredibly interesting, beautiful and fascinating place that continues to enchant visitors, and I expect this promotion will generate a huge amount of extra interest in Japan at a time when it really needs it.”
Social media is being used to full advantage in promoting the draw. JTA have set up Facebook and Twitter (@experiencejapan) pages as well as blogs on SeeJapan.co.uk where news and details of the competition will be posted closer to the time. It is hoped that this more natural way of communicating will save millions on advertising costs, letting word of mouth work its own magic.
Apart from the area directly surrounding the stricken Fukishima nuclear plant, the Japanese government has assured foreign travel markets that the country is safe to visit. They have said that “as soon as people visit Japan they fall in love with it.”