Life & Leisure

Japan promotes virtual tourism amid foreign visitors’ entry ban

Tokyo, Oct 20 (efe-epa).- With its borders closed to international tourists on account of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty surrounding a lifting of restrictions, Japan has chosen to promote virtual tourism with live broadcasts from different parts of the country.

On Oct. 24, the Singapore offices of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will begin a series of Facebook Live broadcasts across the archipelago, starting with the central Shizuoka and southwest Okinawa prefectures as part of the “Fun From Home” project.

This virtual tourism initiative, which will have broadcasts in English, aims to keep alive the desire of foreign tourists to visit Japan and already has another three broadcasts scheduled for Nov. 8 and 14 and Dec. 5, the agency explained in a statement.

The JNTO has developed the program keeping in mind the more than 3 million followers of the official Facebook pages operated by its Asia-Pacific office in Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and plans to extend it until March 2021 with one broadcast per month.

The first program, to be live-streamed Saturday, will center around a visit to a tea plantation in the Nihondaira area of Shizuoka Prefecture.

Subsequent broadcasts will allow viewers to watch a live performance of traditional songs from the Okinawa region in the southwest of the archipelago, participate in an autumn festival in the city of Kawaguchiko, which is famous for its views of Mount Fuji, and visit the Ritsurin Gardens of Takamatsu city in west Japan.

The program seeks to ensure that potential tourists do not lose their interest in and motivation to visit Japan while it remains unclear when it will reopen its borders to tourism.

Japan has been allowing virtually no foreign nationals into the country for months. Only a few thousand foreign nationals, including foreign residents or business travelers have been allowed inside the country.

The number of travelers to the country has declined by more than 99 percent since April, when Japan began to impose travel restrictions until the ban extended to visitors from 159 countries and territories. EFE-EPA

mra/pd/lds

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