Japan To Offer Thousands of Free Airfares to Lure Tourists

From the aftermath of the devastating March earthquake and tsunami, Japan has come up with a new scheme to attract visitors: free airline tickets.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the plan is to give 10,000 travellers a free trip to the land of the rising sun. The country was also ravaged by the disastrous meltdown activated by the tsunami in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, only several hundred miles north of Tokyo. Despite the ongoing efforts to fully recover from the March disasters, the Government officials declare that the country is safe to visit, apart from anywhere within proximity of the nuclear power plant.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun Newspaper, the Japan Tourism Agency announced that applications must be submitted online for free flights, with indications of which region of the country desired to visit.

The only catch of a free holiday to Japan is that the people whose applications are selected by the Agency must write a written review of their trip and have it published online. Travellers however must pay for their own hotels and meals.

Officials hope this scheme will produce positive results and reports from the tourists and will turn the tide for Japan’s tourism industry.  Tourism reportedly fell 50% in the three months after the disaster, in comparison with the figures from 2010.

Will this scheme work? Or will it just set Japan back even further?

[Update]

The Japanese Government have yet to finalize its approval for the scheme but it is scheduled to begin in April next year.

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