If you’ve ever wanted to visit Japan, this may be your chance.
In a desperate attempt to lure tourists back to a country plagued by radiation fears and constant earthquakes, the Japan Tourism Agency’s proposed an unprecedented campaign – 10,000 free roundtrip tickets.
The catch is, you need to publicize your trip on blogs and social media sites.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has dropped drastically, since a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Power plant in March. Nearly 20,000 people have been confirmed dead, while more than 80,000 remain displaced because of radiation concerns. In the first three months following the triple disasters, the number of foreign visitors to Japan was cut in half, compared with the same time in 2010. The strong Japanese currency has made matters worse.
The tourism agency says it plans to open a website to solicit applicants interested in the free tickets. Would- be visitors will have to detail in writing their travel plans in Japan, and explain what they hope to get out of the trip. Successful applicants would pay for their own accommodation and meals. They would also be required to write a review their travel experiences, and post it online.
“We are hoping to get highly influential blogger-types, and others who can spread the word that Japan is a safe place to visit,” said Kazuyoshi Sato, with the agency.
The agency has requested more than a billion yen to pay for the tourism blitz. If lawmakers approve the funding, Sato says visitors could begin signing up as early as next April.