Earlier last month (September), Hokkaido, Japan was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7, which had crippled the local tourism industry. In fact, the natural disaster had killed 41 people and caused a district-wide blackout.
The damage in Hokkaido was so severe that it was estimated that a total of 100 billion Yen (approx. RM3.64 billion) is required for recovery. The number is not surprising considering that it has been hit by a strong typhoon and an earthquake.
To boost the tourism industry in Hokkaido, the Japanese central government has decided to subsidise up to 70 per cent of the accommodation fees for tourists in order to attract more crowds to the island.
Starting from 1 October, the central government will absorb 50 to 70 per cent of lodging costs for domestic tourists up to the value of 20,000 Yen (approx. RM720) for three nights. Meanwhile, foreign tourists can enjoy 70 per cent off if they stay there for up to five nights.
In order to facilitate foreign tourists who don’t speak Japanese, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that a 24-hour call service in multiple languages will be set up to provide information when the transportation and public services are disrupted.
For instance, more staff who can speak Chinese and Korean will be hired to be stationed at airports.
“There is no problem with transportation and accommodation to accept tourists in most areas (of Hokkaido), except for the epicentre, so Hokkaido is safe now,” Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said at a news conference.
This is certainly a brilliant move to revitalise the tourism in Hokkaido. We pray for the safety of the locals and hopefully, they can get back on their feet in no time.
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