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Japan tries to lead tourists off beaten track

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Hokkaido, Mie and Gifu, and destinations in Kyoto prefecture
Aiming to push tourists off the “golden route” of Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Osaka, the Japan National Tourism Organisation is preparing to elevate the country’s lesser-known areas that have so far been off the beaten track.
Promoting previously unknown destinations to tourists is designed to inject new life into struggling regions, as well as encourage visitors who have already been to Japan to return for something different.
“We have already started promoting the Toyama region,” said Tatsuki Miura of the corporate planning department. “And we are finding that travellers from countries in south-east Asia are particularly interested in going to Hokkaido in the winter. They do not have four seasons in their home countries so they really want to see snow and winter scenery.”
Hokkaido is to be promoted through JNTO and travel companies as the location of “Asian natural treasures”, while history, culture and food will be the highlights of Akita, Aomori and the rest of the northern Tohoku region.
The central prefectures of Mie and Gifu are expected to benefit from the opening of the new Hokuriku Shinkansen line, and the Inland Sea that divides the main island of Honshu from Shikoku has been identified as another priority destination.
Destinations in Kyoto prefecture that are outside the ancient capital are also being prepared, while the onsen of Kyushu and the spiritual elements of Shikoku, such as the 88-temple pilgrimage route, will also be a focus.
JNTO will work with local authorities to create promotional literature in a number of foreign languages, set up free Wi-Fi networks and provide special excursion passes. The Ministry of Tourism is allocating 300 million yen (€2.14 million) to the campaign, with additional funds provided by local governments.
TTG Asia

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