Government rejects ¥1.1 billion budget allocated for the program.
The Japan Tourism Agency has announced that tits “Fly to Japan!” program, which intended to give away 10,000 free roundtrip tickets to Japan for foreign tourists next year, has been canceled due to the Japanese government’s rejection of the program’s proposed budget.
The agency planned to allocate ¥1.1 billion (PhP 550 million) of its requested 2012 budget for the program, but it was “not approved” by the Japanese government “as a governmental draft budget of FY 2012.”
The program, which was announced in October this year, aimed to alleviate the fears of foreign tourists brought about by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and to convince them that it is safe to travel to Japan, except in areas affected by the partial meltdown of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The Japan Tourism Agency released this statement in its press release:
As the recovery from the earthquake is an ongoing urgent task, Japan has been vigorously working towards its restoration with the support from the world. Almost all of Japan has been back to normal and ready to welcome visitors. We are sincerely looking forward to having you to see Japan with your own eyes.
The UK-based Japan National Tourism Organization also came out with a statement on the issue:
We realise that this announcement is going to disappoint thousands of people around the world, but we hope people will understand how insensitive it would appear for the Japanese Government to give people free flights to Japan when the cities, towns and villages devastated by the tsunami are still in desperate need of funding for reconstruction. We also would not want people thinking that the generous donations given from around the world to aide those affected by the disaster was being spent on giving people free flights.
The JNTO also says that it hopes that the cancellation of the “Fly to Japan!” program won’t discourage tourists from visiting Japan, though this time it will be at their own expense.
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