Don’t be surprised if you see a “cherry blossom train” running in a subway line in Taipei sometime soon. The Japanese symbol has been set on the interiors of a train to advertise the Tohoku region, which was hard hit by the earthquake and tsunami disaster three years ago, as a new travel destination.
The interiors of a six-car train travelling on the Bannan metro line is decked with cherry blossom photos to promote cherry blossom viewing tours in the disaster-struck region of Tohoku in Japan. The advertisement was sponsored by the Japan Tourism Agency and another public-private group, which hopes to promote speedy reconstruction of the region hit by the 2011 triple disasters by boosting its tourism. In December 2011, a council called “Tohoku, Yume no Sakura Kaido Suishin Kyogikai” was set up by the six prefectures in Tohoku (Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata) and travel agencies, to advance cherry blossom viewing trips and tours to renew interest in the region. According to Fujio Miyasaka, chief of the council’s secretariat, “Three years after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, Japanese tourists became less enthusiastic about visiting Tohoku.”
Last 2013, more than 10 million foreigners visited, a record number for the region. However, less than 60 percent of the pre-disaster number of foreigners stayed for at least one night. The council hopes that running full-page ads in major Taiwanese dailies for eight straight days will attract more to the area. Taiwan became the council’s target for the tourism campaign’s launch, as it was one of the countries, which donated a huge sum during the relief operations. 100,000 leaflets with cherry blossom photos were also handed out. Miyasaki hopes the campaign will encourage Taiwanese to visit the region not just during autumn. “It should be thrilling to see cherry trees fully blooming against the background of mountains with lingering snow,” he added.
[via E Turbo News]
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