Two hundred lucky travellers are set to enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to the Japanese province of Fukushima this winter. The plan aims to attract visitors to Fukushima’s snow-capped hills and mountains to spread the word that the region is back open to tourism.
The area was devastated by the tsunami and resultant nuclear meltdown in 2011 but is now entirely safe for travel, and in the process of trying to rebuild its tourism industry. Two hundred visitors from Taiwan, Thailand, and Australia will get free trips to destinations in the area in return for sharing their travel experiences via social media.
Tourism in the area has rebounded to almost 90% of what it was before the disaster but it should be even higher considering the entire country of Japan is in the midst of a tourism boom. The new plan for Fukushima will see visitors brought to the towns of Minamiaizu, Kaneyama and Bandai, famous for their mountain views, hot springs, golf courses, and skiing. The tours will be focused on skiing, snowboarding, and according to reports in the local Fukushima Minpo news, even “snowball fights”. A ski resort will be reserved for an entire day for foreign visitors where the fortunate travellers can spend the day on the slopes.
After that, they can relax in the evening in the local hot springs, before sitting down to dine on local cuisine, washed down with sake. Trips along the Tadami Line, a local railway line with stunning scenery, will also be offered along with fishing at Lakes Hibara and Hatori. In return, the travellers will simply be asked to share their experiences and photos on social media like Instagram and Facebook.
The recovery of tourism in Fukushima has been nothing short of remarkable with visitor numbers last year back above 50 million for the first time since 2010. Hopes are high that by the end of this year, the number of travellers coming to visit will have got back to where they were before the disaster.