The Japanese government is spending Y21.5 million (£175,000) on bringing ten influential social media users to the country to see the progress it has made since the disasters Japan experienced in 2011.
The government is hoping that the powerful bloggers and social network users will be able to convey the extent of the country’s recovery, and encourage more tourists to return. A previous plan to offer 10,000 free airline tickets into Japan for travellers willing to document their trip on social media and blogs failed to get the support of the country’s tourism board.
Japan’s guests began to arrive from 31 January, and will be taken around various sites affected by the earthquakes. Those enjoying the Japanese government’s hospitality include Roger Ortuno Flamerich, a blogger from Spain, and US food blogger Louisa Liu Chu. The leader of a Muslim community website in Egypt will also be flown to Japan, along with two unnamed Twitter users – one a Chinese children’s author and the other a university professor from Chile.
The impact on the tourism industry caused by the disasters suffered by Japan in 2011 has been significant. During the three months following the earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear plant disaster, international visitors to Japan reduced by 50 per cent, and the strength of the Yen has also contributed to reduced interest in Japan as a tourist destination.
Image source: skyseeker