Japan Tries to Lure Back Scared Tourists

Numbers are way down, and hotel discounts are way up
By Luke Kelly-Clyne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2011 12:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – Looking for an inexpensive vacation? Go to Japan. This is the country's unofficial message to a dwindling population of visitors scared away by the recent natural disasters and the threat of radiation exposure, the Global Post reports. To draw tourists back in, hotels are offering bargain-bin specials. Japan needs all the help it can get: Its National Tourism Organization reported that, compared to last year, the number of visitors dropped 62.5% in April, 50.4% in May, and 36% in June.

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Tourists are frightened by the prospect of radiation exposure, but Japanese and international agencies say the nation is safe outside of Fukushima's restricted zone. Still, even places far from the nuclear plant are feeling the pinch. “As half of our clients are usually overseas guests we’ve seen significant cancellations since March,” says a Hyatt manager in Kyoto. "Now it’s our job to persuade people most of Japan is safe.” (Read more Japan stories.)

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