Headline: JAPAN TO OFFER THOUSANDS OF FREE AIRFARE TO LURE TOURISTS
Oct 10, 2011…REPORTING FROM SEOUL — Seeking to lure tourists to a nation still reeling from the effects of the March earthquake and tsunami, Japan says it will make it easier for foreign travelers to visit: It’ll offer free airline tickets.
Officials next year plan to offer 10,000 travelers free airfares to visit the country, which is still coping with the tsunami-triggered nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant several hundred miles north of Tokyo. Government officials say the nation is safe for travel anywhere but the area near the stricken nuclear power plant.
The Japan Tourism Agency announced this week that it plans to ask would-be travelers to submit online applications for the free flights, detailing the region of the country they would like to visit, according to a story in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
The agency will select winning entrants, who will be required to write a review of their experiences in Japan to be published on the Internet. Travelers are asked to cover their own hotels and meals.
Officials hope that positive reports from tourists will help lure travelers back to Japan, which endured a 50% drop in tourism for the first three months following the March 11 disaster, compared with numbers from the same period in 2010.
The sharp drop eased this summer but numbers had yet to rise to normal rates, officials said.
The day this hit the news I began to get emails from friends from all over. My co-workers also made sure I heard about it. I admit I’ve never been all that interested in Japan or in visiting the country even though I know a number of people who are fanatics about that area of the world. But as my friends point out, I am making my humble attempt to write a travel related blog and this would certainly fit the bill for a subject. It’s actually a requirement of being chosen for the tickets. You must write about your experience in a blog. Obviously there are more established blogs than mine but many are professional so they might not be interested in free tickets since they are already paid to travel.
I searched for some suggested itinieries and was disappointed in what I could find on-line. They are heavily weighted with shopping, something I am not really interested in. Most of my souvenirs are my photos. I wouldn’t mind visiting a Shaolin Temple and some Japanese Gardens or having a dinner of Kobe beef..said to be the finest in the world. I’ve heard that Mount Fuji is very hard to climb and usually covered in clouds so what are the chances of seeing that?
And that’s where my research stands right now. That’s why I thought I’d toss the idea out for comment. If I should decide to apply I have to include what I want to see and why.
As one of my friends pointed out, an opportuity like this could open doors and lead to more travel opportunities. In that respect it is very appealing. I welcome your comments and suggestions.