14 Février 2018
February 14, 2018
Foreign lodgers in Fukushima return to pre-disaster level
By HIROSHI ISHIZUKA/ Staff Writer
The number of overnight guests in Fukushima Prefecture has recovered to pre-disaster levels, several years after the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and triple nuclear meltdown struck the region in 2011.
A survey by the Japan Tourism Agency showed as many non-Japanese tourists as before the disaster stayed in the prefecture in 2017, mainly because an increasing number of people from Taiwan and Thailand made it over last year.
A total of 78,680 visitors from outside Japan stayed the night in the prefecture between January and October last year, exceeding 77,890 for the same period in 2010, according to preliminary figures.
While the figure for 2010 rose to 87,000 when those who stayed in Fukushima Prefecture in November and December are included, the annual number for 2017 could surpass that for 2010.
An official of the tourism planning section of the tourism ministry's Tohoku District Transport Bureau said behind the growing number of guests to the region is the prefectural government’s aggressive efforts to present tourist information to Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam through Facebook and other social networking websites.
According to the prefecture’s tourism and exchange division, those promotion programs, such as providing tourist information for spring in the winter and replying to e-mails from individuals who want to know how to visit certain sightseeing spots, were started in August 2016.
Such efforts have resulted in a rise in the number of visitors from Thailand and Taiwan, from which many individual travelers come to Japan, according to prefectural officials.
While the guest numbers for September rose from 3,580 in 2016 to 6,600 in 2017, most of the people who visited Fukushima Prefecture during the period were Thai and Taiwanese, the officials said.
The number of foreigners who stayed in the prefecture dropped by 70 percent in 2011, compared with a year earlier.
But the guest number for 2016 was only less than 20 percent lower than in 2010.