The very pertinent June 29 editorial “Boosting Japan’s flagging tourism” mentions that grassroots and government efforts will be equally important. I agree 100 percent, and would like to give an example of one grassroots effort to promote tourism.
Our small travel agency has just launched a worldwide contest to win a 101-day trip to Japan. It is called the Travel Volunteer Project. The idea came from one of our employees at The Real Japan, while brainstorming how to bring tourism back to Japan.
After seeing the coverage of Japan from international media, we felt much was missing. Although the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accidents are terrible disasters, Japan as a country has not been entirely destroyed or irradiated. All places outside the evacuation zone are safe.
That the media never mentioned this detail has had severe consequences for many businesses in the travel and tourism industry, so we decided to create this project to promote Japan among the world’s travelers and show that the country still is a safe and wonderful place to visit.
Starting the journey Sept. 15, the selected “Travel Volunteer” will visit all of Japan’s 47 prefectures and share impressions through a dedicated travel blog and through social networks. All travel and accommodation expenses, including international airfares will be covered. Candidates are invited to apply by July 31. Detailed information is available at two websites:
Twenty-four hours after this project was launched, we had already received applications from Brazil, the United States, Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore. We also need help for the Travel Volunteer from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including:
• One night of accommodation for two in a hotel or inn.
• Meal for two in any restaurant.
• One day of transportation and/or guide services.
Small businesses will be able to promote themselves globally through the daily reports on the project’s blog. We hope the Travel Volunteer Project will benefit Japan’s tourism industry and restore confidence outside and within Japan.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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