The Japanese government will provide a subsidy of up to 10,000 yen (US$87) per person for tourists who visit Tottori Prefecture in southern Honshu, in an attempt to lure visitors back after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the coastal city in October.
To qualify for the incentive, tourists will need to visit Tottori between January and March 2017, stay in the prefecture for at least one night and visit one sightseeing spot for tours.
Mizuki Shigeru Museum. Courtesy: http://tottrip.jp/data/seibu/3/mizukishigerumuseum.html?lang=en
Funds will be provided to travel companies that have or are currently selling Tottori tour packages, with the subsidy deducted from the package cost.
Despite the substantial amount of the incentive, travel operators are unsure if tourists will take the bait to visit Tottori.
“Even before the earthquake, Tottori was not a popular place for travellers because it does not have many attractive sights. It is also a long way from the big cities, which makes it difficult to get to," said Yoshi Tanaka of Nippon Travel Agency’s Asia Section.
“But the subsidy is a large amount and will help. It is likely that we will launch a sales campaign based on the subsidy,” he added.
While Tottori is "quite distant" from major cities in the country, Naiki Tamaki, head of marketing for Kuoni Japan, believes that anime fans may still be keen to visit the Mizuki Shigeru Museum, which displays the characters that author Mizuki Shigeru created for manga such as Gegege no Kitaro and Akuma-kun.