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Reading the “White Paper on Tourism in Japan, 2013” (3): Reconstruction form the Great East Japan Earthquake- Okinawa in Good Condition, Tohoku Falling Behind

June 25, 2013 Categroy: Japan Bound , Japan Domestic Travel , News

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In “White Paper on Tourism in Japan, 2013” (“State of Tourism in FY 2012” and the “Tourism Policy in FY 2013”), description on the reconstruction form the Great East Japan Earthquake and conditions of each region observed by each District Transport Bureaus. Domestic tourism in general is on the rise, but the conditions of recovery vary by each region.

A look at the year-to-year change in the total number of overnight stays by travelers to Tohoku shows that the number in 2012 declined by 3.9% compared to the year before and decreased by 2.1% compared to 2010. The Number of foreign visitors increased by 33.3% compared to the year before yet declined by 54.9% compared to 2010, far below the level of before the Earthquake. The total number of overnight stays in sightseer targeted accommodations in this region decreased by 20% compared to 2010 and the number of foreign visitors fall in 40~80% decrease each month. These figures show that Tohoku is falling behind the other regions of Japan in terms of recovery from the effects of the Earthquake.

Under such situation, the Japan Tourism Agency conducted projects aimed at stimulating tourism demands in Tohoku in FY2012: the “Destination Tohoku Campaign” which took place for 13 months beginning March 2012 presuming the whole Tohoku area as an expo site as well as the “Tohoku and North Kanto Visitation Movement.” The total number of travelers/trips to Tohoku area during the “Destination Tohoku Campaign” was 49.7 million, of 25.7 million were sightseers which increased about 3.1 million compared with the previous year. Overall effect on the economy triggered by the “Destination Tohoku Campaign” and its tourists is said to have reached ¥8.4 billion

In contrast, tourism in Okinawa kept on growing even after 2010. The total number of overnight stays by travelers to Okinawa increased by 5.9% compared with the previous year, by 2.4% compared with 2010, and also the number of foreign visitors increased steadily by 35.0% compared with the previous year, by 54.2% compared with 2010. Newly launched LCCs, foreign carriers and increased flight services facilitated in the increase of the number of the inbound tourists to Okinawa by 7.8% compared with the previous year, and notably foreign visitors increased by34.5%. New Ishigaki Airport opened in March 2013 is equipped with international terminal therefore new domestic and international flight services are expected.

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