Japan is ready for a record year

Japan is ready for a record year

It has been three years since the tsunami struck Japan. How has tourism repaired and what is next? InsideJapan’s director Alastair Donnelly shares his experience.

It has been three years since the tsunami struck Japan. How has tourism repaired and what is next? InsideJapan’s director Alastair Donnelly shares his experience.

Alistair Donnelly, InsideJapan director
Alistair Donnelly, InsideJapan director

“11th March is a date that will stick in the mind of Japan travel specialists InsideJapan Tours forever.

Three years on from Japan’s “Great Tohoku Tsunami” which devastated parts of rural northern Japan, the country has moved on considerably and ready to welcome a record number of tourists in 2014.

We have raised almost £50,000 for tsunami related charities, “It’s Not Just Mud” and “Civic Force” since the disaster. We’ve also tailored volunteer trips to the Tohoku region for customers since the major disaster which caused so much destruction and the death of almost 19,000 people in the region.

Since the disaster, Japan and InsideJapan Tours initially saw a huge drop in tourism. In 2013 however, Japan saw a record number of foreign visitors with a 24% increase on the previous year to reach a high of almost 11 million.

Our figures certainly reflect the increase in visitors to this unique country. The first two months of 2014 have seen a 55% increase in sales for InsideJapan compared to the same months in 2013 and departures for the year ahead look very healthy beyond this record peak cherry blossom period (late March – mid April).

People are reading good things about Japan and it is rightly gaining interest in the travelling world as one of the destinations to travel to. There are some big events on the horizon such as the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which have sparked the imagination. One of the big factors at the moment is that Japan is currently 30% cheaper than it was one year ago. The yen is at a five-year low, meaning that travellers from the UK get great value for their pound.

With close links to staff, suppliers, families and friends in the region, we do not want people to forget the struggle that some people still face in the worse hit tsunami areas. At the same time, the future for cultural tourism looks good in the unique Land of the Rising Sun.

Gary Marshall
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Gary Marshall
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