October 11th, 2011
06:55 AM GMT
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If you’ve always dreamed of seeing Tokyo’s cherry blossoms or Kyoto’s famous temples, or even the Anime maid cafes of Akihabara, the Japanese government wants to help turn your hopes into reality.

In order to boost visitor numbers in the wake of its recent disasters, Japan’s official tourism agency hopes to provide free flights for 10,000 foreigners to travel to the country.

The Japan Tourism Agency says it will ask the lucky tourists to post about their experiences on social media.

“The travelers will put stories and images of their fun trips to Japan while travelling on Facebook and their own blogs,” says the Agency’s Masatoshi Tsukasaki.

“As such stories spread to their friends and followers, we hope a sense of insecurity and worries over Japan built up after the quake would be eliminated.”

The agency has asked for $14 million dollars as part of next year’s budget to fund the program. Winners would be selected based on how interesting their travels plans are, with 10,000 receiving free round-trip plane tickets.

The government hopes to lure both traditional tourists and young visitors interested in the country's street culture and nightlife. Tourists would be expected to pay for their own hotels and activities.

Japan’s tourism industry has suffered in the aftermath of the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disasters on March 11. In August, just 546,800 tourists visited Japan, nearly a third less than a year earlier.

In the most impacted areas, visitors have fallen off by up to 90%. Tsukasaki says he expects it to take three-to-five years for the industry to fully recovery.

He also believes the project is away of showing gratitude for all the support Japan has received from the international community.

“The world helped Japan to come back on its feet,” he says. “We would like to show how much progress we have made since then."

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soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. antonio barcelona

    how can we be included in those 10,000?

    October 11, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  2. George Gatuma

    How can one be included

    October 11, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  3. stern ilan

    been to hokkaido 3 times !
    summer,winter and spring
    one of the most beautiful places on earth !
    try the "YUUAISO" restaurant near abashiri station.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  4. isa

    so, how exactly will this work?

    October 11, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  5. ameet sahny

    how can I take participate?

    October 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Kimberly Schaeffer

    I would love to take part in this! What do I need to do to be one of the 10,000 chosen?

    October 11, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  7. Jacques Michaux

    Superb initiative ! I want to join :))

    October 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  8. Reynosa

    Hi there.,

    Could you please give me the information :)

    October 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  9. gailcf

    how can i sign up?

    October 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  10. Debra Beutler

    My new grand baby is there! I want to come!

    October 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  11. Ramesh Neupane

    What are the procedures for this program.

    October 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  12. Jonas Ekas

    this is a fake for sure!

    October 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  13. berman

    Yeah, details please!!!

    October 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  14. Mandy

    I'm in.

    October 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  15. Mr. Lee

    Sweet! I want in on this action!!! Would love to visit Kyoto!

    October 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  16. pia

    to the people asking questions, READ the article again, you'll see that the answers are just there. the program is actually still a plan so no details yet as you can see in this sentence: "The agency has asked for $14 million dollars as part of next year’s budget to fund the program". And how people can join? Read this - " Winners would be selected based on how interesting their travels plans are, with 10,000 receiving free round-trip plane tickets". But no specifics yet because it is still a plan after all.

    October 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  17. KOMILJON

    REALITY OR NO???

    October 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  18. FRESH

    Where do I sign up??!!! haha.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
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    A nice way of remembering this GREAT MAN on your iOS device!!!

    Check the reviews for the opinions of other people ;)

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    October 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  20. Ann Marie Fairchild

    How could I find out more about this adventure...my bags are packed

    October 12, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  21. sandhyanarne

    Hi Friends,
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    Thank you.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:59 am |
  22. Cristina C.

    How it works!!!? I really want to be there!!

    October 12, 2011 at 5:07 am |
  23. Graciela Pacheco

    Please let me know when there's more info on this plan. If it actually comes into reality I WOULD REALLY LOVE TO GO! So please keep me updated. THANK YOU!

    October 12, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  24. Keith in Seattle

    Like everyone else posting comments here, I would also love to get in on this offer. But a word of caution to those truly interested.... do you homework first! Similar offers in the past, with other airlines, have had "hidden" fees associated with them. You may wind up having to pay the taxes and even a "fuel surcharge", which could amount to over $500 one way!! So before signing up, be sure you know up front what you will have to pay in order to get this "Free" offer.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:53 am |
  25. Brian Florido

    hi i would really like to get more information on this and i promise it will be worth your time to send it to me

    October 13, 2011 at 3:39 am |
  26. Sharon Spencer Munz

    Please send me more information.

    October 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  27. zomaa

    The land of the rising sun shows resiliency beyond all adversity...
    Would love the chance to play a koto in Kyoto 8)
    To visit would be a delight and an opportunity of a lifetime!

    November 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
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    November 20, 2011 at 3:04 am |
  29. Ruzanna

    How can I take participate? What do I need to do to be one of the 10,000 chosen? Could you please give me the information?

    November 27, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  30. Get Facebook Friends

    Wow that goes to show how important Facebook friends are. I Get Facebook Friends everyday and they help with anything, advice, blogging anything you can think of. Great post!

    November 28, 2011 at 8:04 am |
  31. michelle

    i'm so in for this !

    January 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  32. JP

    That's amazing! guess who has a new fan :)

    check out yourfbooklikes.com for free fans to your pages!

    January 30, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
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