Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Japan tells tourists says 'it's safe' to come back

by Staff Writers
Las Vegas (AFP) May 19, 2011
Japanese business leaders launched a campaign Thursday to woo tourists back to Japan after the devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that sent foreigners fleeing the country.

"I would like to say: Japan is safe," said Atsutoshi Nishida, the chairman of Toshiba, told a high-powered gathering of travel and tourism executives and officials from around the world.

Accepting the group's invitation to host the next Global Travel and Tourism Summit in Tokyo in April 2012, Nishida said he hoped to welcome participants to a Japan at "full strength" by then.

International travel to and from Japan plunged after the 9.0 magnitude quake March 11 off Sendai, Japan that sent a tsunami surging through nuclear power complexes along the coast, magnifying a disaster that killed 15,000 people.

While tourism represents only a small part of economy impacted, it is an important bellwether of confidence in Japan.

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, the number of tourists arriving in the country dropped by more than 50 percent, and leisure travel collapsed by 90 percent, according to the Japanese Tourism Agency.

Japanese departures from the country were estimated to have fallen by 18 percent in March from the same month in 2010.

There were tentative signs of recovery in May, and Japanese officials said that travel during the Golden Week holiday in late April and early May when Japanese celebrate their famed cherry blossoms, were better than expected.

But Oxford Economics, in a study released here Thursday, said the experience after other major disasters shows it can take as long as two years to get back to normal.

"Recovery rates depend not only on the extent of the damage caused but political support to rebuild infrastructure and promote travel and tourism, and crucially on the perception left on the traveling public by the disaster," it said.

It said it took four years for New Orleans to return to baseline levels of tourism after Hurricane Katrina.

Japanese officials said their campaign to bring back tourism will begin with education campaigns to dispell what they say are public misperceptions about the effects of the nuclear disaster.

Only later will they proceed to ad campaigns and the like to get tourists to come back, they said.

Naoyoshi Yamada, of the Japan Tourism Agency, said the government has budgeted seven billion yen, or about 75 million dollars, this year for the effort.

It was clear from their presentations here that the Japanese representatives see fears over the lingering effects of the nuclear crisis as the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Nishida contended it was misleading to put the crisis at Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex on a par with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, telling reporters the release of radiation in that meltdown "dwarfed" the amounts released in Japan.

He said Japan's top rating of seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale, equal to that of Chernobyl disaster, "has made many people nervous about visiting Japan."

He said the levels radioactive material in Tokyo drinking water have remained within allowable limits for adults from the start of the crisis, and he said Japan's standards were stricter than those of the European Union.

"By EU standards, there is absolutely nothing to worry about," he said.

He said food in shops and restaurants were "safe to eat," and there was no reason to worry about radiation levels outside of the immediate evacuation zone around the stricken reactors.

Despite the destruction caused by the quake, Nishida said, visitors can travel around Japan with ease. High speed rail travel has been restored, and the damaged Tohoku Expressway to the north has reopened, he said.

"Consumer confidence is on the way to full recovery, by summer I hope," he said.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Quake-hit New Zealand takes axe to public services
Wellington (AFP) May 19, 2011
New Zealand said Thursday it would cut public service spending and partially privatise state-owned assets to help pay for devastating Christchurch earthquakes and kickstart the flagging economy. Unveiling his annual budget, Finance Minister Bill English said the damage from the quakes in September and February was NZ$15 billion ($11.8 billion), equivalent to eight percent of New Zealand's gr ... read more

Japan tells tourists says 'it's safe' to come back

UN launches study of Japan's nuclear disaster: Ban

Erratic information fuels mistrust of TEPCO

Japan, China, S. Korea leaders visit nuclear region

Amazon selling more Kindle books than print books

China slaps export quota on rare earth alloys

Malaysians protest Australian rare earths plant

Google stops digitizing old newspapers

Huge waves swamp Fiji hotel rooms

Greenhouse ocean study offers warning for future

Chileans set against giant dams project

Hong Kong bans trawling to save fish stocks

Research aircraft Polar 5 returned from spring measurements in the high Arctic

Denmark plans claim to North Pole seabed: foreign minister

Ecological impact on Canada's Arctic coastline linked to climate change

Canada PM's Arctic stand 'frosty rhetoric'

New method of unreeling cocoons could extend silk industry beyond Asia

Agony for Japan livestock farmers in nuclear crisis

Post-Mubarak Egypt 'running out of food'

Exploding melons sow new China food fears

5.9-magnitude quake hits northwest Turkey: one dead

Man returns to desolate Argentina town after flood

Fears of more flight chaos as Iceland sees new eruption

US predicts up to 10 Atlantic hurricanes this season

Indian drug firms use S.Africa as launch pad to continent

British PM rejects pressure on aid budget

Sudan stages new Darfur air strikes: UN

Mozambique wages war on man-eating crocs

The roots of memory impairment resulting from sleep deprivation

Clubbers can smell a good nightspot

Sporadic mutations identified in children with autism spectrum disorders

Computer program aids patients in end-of-life planning

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement