No free airline tickets to Japan


Mt. Fuji and Lake Shojiko at sunrise

TOKYO ( majirox news) –The plan to give away 10,000 free round-trip tickets to Japan by the Japan Tourist Agency (JTA) to jump start Japan’s lagging tourism has been torpedoed by the Ministry of Finance (MOF). No appropriation for it appears in the 2012 budget.

“We doubt tourism would increase,” MOF said. “It’s just throwing money away.”

The Japanese edition of the Wall Street Journal said, “The possibility of many foreigners visiting Japan has disappeared as nothing more than a dream.”

JTA’s plan was to give away free airplane tickets to Japan to foreigners. These foreigners would be so impressed that they would return to their home countries and burn up the blogs and social media with glowing stories about a safe Japan. Then Japanese tourism, heavily in the doldrums since the tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima — would magically recover.

The JTA calculated the cost of the tickets to be around nine million dollars. In defense of their plan, a JTA spokesman said, “The direct economic benefits of having 10,000 foreigners visit Japan would roughly be in the 10 million dollar range, with indirect economic benefits running in the range of around 27 million dollars.”

Given the price of many hotels in Tokyo, an estimate that foreigners would spend around $1,000 each during the course of their stay in Japan (assuming a week’s stay) is conservative, if not outright modest.

After the MOF rejected the project, the JTA said, “It’s regrettable that high expectations among foreigners have been disappointed.”

However, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, the JTA may have a Plan B in reserve: to spend approximately 5 million dollars to invite foreigners to visit the Tohoku (northeast) and northern Kanto areas, roughly defined as Saitama, Tochigi, and Fukushima prefectures.

Then the foreigners could still blog and use social media to say that Japan was safe, setting off a wave of foreign tourism to the Tohoku region.

Anyone up for a tour of Fukushima?

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8 Responses to No free airline tickets to Japan

  1. Bima Kuntoaji Adhitya on 01/09/2012 at 6:55 pm

    Hi this is Boma, I read your article and still hope the japanese government will give the free ticket, I think it gonna be very interesting to go to japan however we still spend a thousand dollars to live as long as we there.

  2. sissel hansen on 01/13/2012 at 4:36 am

    I would love to come to Japan, and I would most probably spend more money on hotels,food and sightseeing. So, i can only hope..

  3. Isis on 01/27/2012 at 7:11 am

    Hi my name is Isis. How disappointing to hear that there will be no tickets to Japan! I have always wanted to study abroad there, and to have round trip tickets would have been an amazing opportunity. I hope Japan’s tourism recovers and have people (like me!) go there.

  4. 英会話教材 on 03/29/2012 at 12:21 pm

    I was hoping to take my family to Japan. I need to get back there.

  5. Yena(shoshana stein(frank on 04/30/2012 at 1:45 pm

    I would love to come to Japan! I love Japan! I pray for her and her people. I’ve been looking forward to returning since a friend told me of your plan to give free tickets to promote tourist in October,211. I lived in Sagamihara for 3 years as a young child. It was my favorite place to live . I learned Japanese. I wore Kimono and getas…I learn dancing and folklore. I hope you plan to stay true to your word. I write poetry and prose and have written about my 3 month trip to the UK. and Also I lived in Jerusalem,Israel for over 4 years and many other countries as well. My health has not been great but I look forward to the privledge and opportunity to visit Japan while there is still time. You are a beautiful gracious people with a most wonderful Country . I would appreciate any new information concerning this opportunity. Arigato ,ciao, Shalom for now…. Yena Petrea Frank

  6. Saa Chan on 05/12/2012 at 6:09 am

    I am so disappointed I would die to see Japan. Gotta work harder to get my own ticket fly !! I gonna visit you one Day Nippon I promesse !! So Stay strong and Be Brave as always. May God bless you all.

  7. John Gore on 05/15/2012 at 11:27 am

    My, my, my… It seems MOF has made a bad decision on their part… The economic boosts would make an income of at least $500,000 – $1,000,000 minimum. Plus since their predictions would definitely be correct as most people WOULD have bought a hotel room for $1,000 for a week’s stay in the beautiful and honorable country of Japan would amass $10,000,000. Plus nobody can forget all they would be there including food and souvenirs. Which would probably create another $1,000,000. Nobody can forget about the high demand of Ramune in America… Several people in my school drink it on a regular basis and we have about 550 kids in our school for a high school, middle school, and elementary school that is nearly nothing. So just imagine how much kids drink it in larger schools that have 1,000+ students. In conclusion, I would spend at least $2,750 in Japan. Please MOF… I beseech you… Rethink what you have done… You’re just setting hopes high to crush them in your cold grasp.
    – J.T. Gore

  8. Monica on 09/27/2012 at 3:41 am

    I would love to go to Japan, it’s always been a dream of mine!

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