Thanks to international relief efforts and a lot of hard work, Japan is on the road to recovery after the devastating earthquake and tsunami which rocked the country earlier this year.
U.S. Eases Travel Alert Around Nuclear Plant
Following the British government’s ease on travel restrictions to Japan, the U.S. has downgraded their travel alert for U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in the area around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The new advisory has diminished the recommended restriction zone for visitors from 50 miles down to 12 miles of the Fukushima plant. The advisory falls in-line with Japan’s own recommendation.
In a statement released, the U.S. government believes that “the health and safety risk to temporary visitors [within 80 km within the Fukushima Plant] are low and exposure does not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens making visits of less than one year”.
Immense Progress for Japan Tourism
The travel advisory lift has come on the heels of a lot of positive press about Japan’s tourism industry, including a recent report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) stating that Japan’s tourism is showing a strong recovery. Data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) confirmed that numbers are in line with the WTTC’s “low impact scenario”, and predict that international tourist arrivals numbers will recover by early 2012.
WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill confirmed that the Council plans to bring the industry’s leaders to Sendai and Tokyo during the Global Summit in April 2012. Scowsill stated that the move “sends a clear message [that Japan and the Tohoku region] have recovered from the tragic events of March 11 and are ready to rediscover their position among the world’s premier tourism destinations”.
Japan Still Hugely Popular Tourist Destination
Despite the tragic events of early this year, Japan is viewed more than ever as a sought-after holiday destination. In a recent survey conducted by Visa, the country is still a top destination for tourists from across Asia.
The survey results found that travelers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand want to visit Japan more than any other Asian destination.
Japan also excelled in the Guardian, Observer and guardian.co.uk 2011 Travel Awards, picking up two distinct wins, including Favourite Long-Haul Country, and Favourite Overseas City (Tokyo).