Hokkaido Working Hard to Win Back Tourists after Quake

Guide to Japan Politics

Sapporo, Sept. 22 (Jiji Press)--The northernmost Japan prefecture of Hokkaido is making desperate efforts to win back tourists after it was hit by a power earthquake earlier this month.

The number of tourists to Hokkaido, which has a lot of sightseeing spots, has plunged after the 6.7-magnitude temblor struck on Sept. 6. The quake measured up to 7, the highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale.

Between Sept. 6 and 16, Goryokaku Tower in the city of Hakodate attracted only 12,800 visitors, down sharply from 36,000 a year before, due to a spate of cancellations of group tours, including school trips. The number of foreign visitors, who account for about 10 pct of the total visitors to the 98-meter-tall tower, is also falling.

"We hope to utilize social networking websites and other means to underscore that Hakodate is all right," Yasuo Oba, 55, marketing chief for Goryokaku Tower, said.

Hotels in the Jozankei hot spring resort in the Hokkaido capital of Sapporo saw the cancellations of some 30,000 reservations in total after the earthquake, with combined financial damage reaching 330 million yen.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press