The recent nuclear disasters in Japan have continued to have a severe effect on the nation’s tourism, as a public perception that the nation is dangerous has kept visitors away.
The tourism industry and related business contributed to over 5 percent of Japan’s GDP. The industry employed more than 4.3 million people in 2008. Japan had slated 2011 to be a record breaking year for tourism, and expected to exceed more than 10 million international visitors for the first time through 12 month period.
While in the past, the travel magazines and pamphlets included pictures of beautiful Japanese scenery, prestigious shopping locations and luxurious hotels, the Japan National Tourism Organization is now looking to make the point that cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto are safe to visit.
Shinya Kurosawa an executive from JTB, which is the largest travel agency in Japan, expressed his appreciation at the recent visits from politicians such as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, but stated that “nothing will improve drastically overnight. There hasn’t been any proof to say that there has been an end to the radiation danger, and that has a lot of impact on the consumer psychology.” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak also visited Fukushima and both ate produce from the area and vowed to support Japan’s tourism efforts.