Program an attempt by Japanese government to revive tourism industry.
Now, here’s a deal you surely wouldn’t pass up.
The Japanese government is giving away 10,000 free airfares to visit Japan next year in an attempt to boost the country’s tourism industry which was hit hard by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
This is certainly quite a deal, since a round trip ticket from Manila to Tokyo by Japan Airlines could easily cost $1,097 (around PhP 47,600).
Interested travelers would have to submit an online application to the Japan Tourism Agency in order to be considered for the program. They would also be required to send personal details such as names and passport numbers, and an essay detailing their travel plans. The online application will open starting next April, since the program is still subject to budgetary approval by the Diet.
The travel period for these free flights would start from next April. The travellers would have to shoulder their own visa application, pocket money, food and lodging, however. (Tips on how to tour around Tokyo in a day spending only ¥10,000 or around PhP 5,650 can be found here.) Successful applicants would be required to submit a report about their experiences during the trip which will be published online.
It is understandable that the Japanese government is launching this program, since the number of foreign tourists to Japan fell more than 50 percent year-on-year during the three months after the twin disasters, mostly due to fears of radiation coming from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
This program also aims to prove to tourists that it is safe to travel to Japan, save for the area in and around the crippled plant which is still being brought to a cold shutdown by workers there.
UPDATE: Added more details about application process and what the successful appplicants would have to shoulder.
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