The Reconstruction Agency has selected 13 business proposals from the private sector as model projects for promoting tourism in a bid to attract more foreign visitors to the Tohoku region, parts of which were severely damaged in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The government hopes to boost reconstruction efforts there by offering subsidies for tourism industry advertising fees and other expenses.

The proposals announced Tuesday were chosen by independent experts among about 70 candidates. They include a program for foreign visitors to experience soft rime, or white ice deposition, a winter tourism draw in some areas such as Mount Zao in Yamagata Prefecture, and a tour planned from the viewpoint of foreign students in Tohoku.

"By combining with powers from the private sector, we would like to undertake revitalizing tourism as 'All Japan,' " Reconstruction Minister Tsuyoshi Takagi told reporters.

The government hopes to increase visitor stays — estimated by multiplying the number of visitors by days stayed — in the six northeastern prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima to 1.5 million by 2020, threefold the current level.