Tottori Prefecture urges Korean tourists to submit climb plans

Kyodo

Tottori Prefecture says it is increasing its efforts to urge South Korean tourists to submit mountain-climbing plans to better deal with accident risks.

The prefecture sent letters earlier this year to South Korean travel agencies to ask them to make sure they encourage their customers to submit such plans and make appropriate preparations. The number of South Korean alpinists visiting Tottori has been on the rise.

Tourists from the country tackling 1,729-meter Mount Daisen have increased since regular ferry services started in June 2009 between Sakaiminato and Donghae, South Korea.

While many tourists go to Tottori’s tallest mountain for single-day climbing, experts are concerned about an increase in accidents as some of them are not sufficiently equipped.

It is considered rare for a prefecture to ask foreign tourists to provide such notification.

It is a “pioneering” measure as the number of foreign climbers is expected to rise with the government aiming to double the number of foreign tourists by 2020, said Yuji Watanabe, the head of the National Center for Mountaineering Education.

The prefecture has been urging visitors from South Korea, which accounted for the largest number of visitors to Japan last year, to present a climbing plan in advance, arrange for a mountain guide and equip themselves appropriately.

The prefecture gave instructions to some travel agencies whose customers failed to present climbing plans, while it also began posting notices on the ferry to caution tourists from July.

The prefectural government first sent such letters to 270 South Korean travel agencies in August last year after climbers from the country died in a mountain accident in Nagano Prefecture a month earlier. It sent letters again in February after a South Korean climber was injured while climbing Mount Daisen.