Japan's quake-hit Hokkaido eyes Hong Kong to revive tourism
HONG KONG â" Hokkaido is trying to bring back tourists from overseas in the wake of last monthâs massive earthquake, targeting vibrant Asian economies including Hong Kong.
The hotel industry in Hokkaido is still reeling from the magnitude-6.7 earthquake that jolted the southwestern region of the prefecture on Sept. 6, cutting power supply to over 5 million residents, killing 41 people and injuring more than 700.
âWe are delivering our message to the whole world in six languages: Hokkaido is safe and has recovered already,â Yasuhiro Tsuji, vice governor of Hokkaido, said in an interview.
âWe are cooperating with airlines in order to raise the nu mber of travelers.â
Tsuji was in Hong Kong this week for âHokkaido Showcase: Food, Tourism and Investment,â hosted by the provincial government and the Japan External Trade Organization. It is the first such event held overseas since the disaster.
A total of 14 companies and organizations participated in the food exhibition of the event space while six companies and organizations joined a seminar on tourism.
Tsuji said his prefecture is placing importance on Hong Kong, where people already have deep knowledge of Japanese food and culture.
Last year, a record 28.7 million people from overseas visited Japan, up 19.3 percent on year, according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization. Japan also attracted a record 2.2 million people from Hong Kong in 2017, up 21.3 percent from 2016, the data showed.
News reports said the quake caused at least Â¥10 billion (about $90 million) in canceled reservations mainly by schools and foreign tourists.
The total damage to Hokkaido infrastructure and all local industries is estimated to exceed Â¥400 billion, according to Japanese newspaper reports.
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