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MOSCOW, September 21 (Itar-Tass) — Japan hopes to win back Russian tourists by the next blossoming season of the Japanese cherry trees, or sakura, in March-April 2012, Valentin Shestak, a coordinator of the Japanese National Tourism Organization in Russia and CIS countries, told a news conference on Wednesday.
“Last year, one of the most successful for Japan, a total of 51,457 people visited the country, or by ten percent more than in 2009,” he said. But after a devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 the tourism sector in the country virtually collapsed. “We than closed the Japanese stand at a Moscow-based Intourmarket exhibition and preferred not to offer tours to Japan,” he said. But now, in his words, the number of tourists is gradually growing.
He expressed the hope that by the sakura tree blooming season so popular among tourists (in March and April), tourist flows will partially resume.” For these ends, the Japanese government intends to take a number of measures to promote the country as a popular tourist destination. Thus, an autumn discount campaign for tourists will be launched offering discount coupons for purchases in Japan’s basic trade outlets to each person buying a tour to the country. The Japanese tourism website www.visitjapan.ru will be updated to provide more information about places of interest in the Land of the Rising Sun.
According to Shestak, Japan’s National Tourism Organization keeps a close eye on the rating of the country among tourists. Thus, recent research has proved that Russians are ready “to go to Japan if there are good offers,” he noted.
He also said that Japan has already done much to restore the tourism infrastructures. Thus, in his words, the Sendai airport was restored in April, and traffic along the Tohoku highway was re-launched. “All domestic and international airlines are currently performed in a regular regime,” he stressed.
As concerns radiation levels in basic tourist locations, such as the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, “radiation indices are even lower than the norm,” Shestak underlined. “We are strictly monitoring these indices and can say with confidence that there is no danger for tourists in these cities,” he said in conclusion.