My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Japan, and it's Tourism Dilemma.

   This article, "Japan after Fukushima", in today's edition of  "Yahoo News" has prompted me to offer an opinion regarding the present dilemmas facing tourism in Japan.
   One has to feel some sympathy towards the Ministry that is responsible for tourism here. After years of declining numbers of tourists to Japan, the powers-that-be, back in 2003, decided to invest millions of Yen to improve the situation, with an aggressive marketing/promotion campaign. Then, in 2010, the investment began to pay off, with some 8.6-million tourists visiting the Japanese Archipelago. The Ministry felt that it was well on it's way to their target of attracting 25-million tourists by 2020. That was until 11th March 2011, when the "Forces-of-Nature" (sorry I couldn't find anything more descriptive to add), and it's aftermath (the Fukushima Nuclear Power-Plant), stepped-in and all that changed. Since that day tourist numbers have taken a nose-dive and the Ministry are scrambling to find answers to turn the trend around.
   I am not going to pour scorn on those who have decided to stay away from Japan, for whatever their fears. I respect their right to make that choice. I too have fears, especially regarding the affects of Radiation Sickness, but I am just as likely to be run-over by a cyclist while walking along a footpath. Which raises the question; Whereabouts on this planet is it safe to travel to? The people on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009, would never have thought that a fellow passenger had plastic explosives in his underwear. Same as the people on the Double-Decker Bus in London on 7th July 2005, would never have thought that they would become victims of a suicide attack. And then there were the tourists standing on the balcony in the spire of Christchurch Cathedral at 12:51pm on 22nd February 2011. There is risk attached to everything we do, I know that more than anyone.
   The present Minister in charge of Tourism in Japan, has come-up with a scheme, where some 10,000 tourists from different parts of the Globe, will have their flights to Japan paid for them in the hope of improving the situation. This comes with a price-tag of ¥1.8-billion and has yet to be approved by the Japanese Government, sometime near April 2012. This is crazy and is throwing good money after bad as their is no guarantee that the scheme will be successful. Already scams are afoot throughout the world to abuse this scheme, as reported in this statement from the Japan Tourist Agency. Also, people who had no intention of visiting Japan, will now do so because their "Mates" living here, have encouraged them to apply. They will come here because it's a "freebie" and not come and appreciate what Japan really has to offer - beauty, fantastic scenery, history, culture.
   If you are considering Japan as your next holiday destination, may I invite you to connect with the "Japan National Tourism Organization", via their "Facebook" page, for information and regular updates.
   So, in the mean time, check-out these photos
Matsuo-dera Shrine, Yamashiro Town.
Kyoto Prefecture.
which shows some of the hidden beauty of Japan.

Konzo-ji Temple, Nagaokakyo City.
Kyoto Prefecture.

Pagoda, Kaijusen-ji Temple.
Kizugawa City.
Kyoto Prefecture.

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