Japan tourism begins recovery

Japan tourism begins recovery

Tourists should no longer shun visits to Japan, as radiation levels at the country’s main airport and ports are “well within safe limits” according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

The Madrid-based UNWTO said the “current situation poses no risk to travel to and from Japan.”

“Radiation monitoring around airports and seaports in Japan continues to confirm that levels remain well within safe limits from a health perspective,” it said in a statement.

“In addition, monitoring of passengers, crew and cargo from Japan carried out to date in other countries, in accordance with their national policy, does not suggest any health or safety risk.”

However the country’s tourism industry continues to struggle in the aftermath of its worst humanitarian disaster since WWII. with occupancy rates dramatically down at hotels across the country.

ADVERTISEMENT

International visitor arrivals in March were 50.3 percent lower year on year, at 352,800, the largest decline ever recorded, according to the Japan National Tourism Board.

The March 11 disaster is now known to have killed 13,456 people, with another 14,851 still missing.

After an initial rush for Japanese to get home and expats to get out, Japan Airlines says that passenger volume is at least 25 percent lower. Other airlines have pulled routes or switched to smaller planes to keep seats occupied.

Bullet train services to Fukushima Daiichi exclusion zone have been cut. However the main regional airport in Sendai has just been reopened after being flooded by the tsunami.

Hotels and inns within about a two hour drive of the tsunami zone are completely booked by aid workers or displaced people fleeing the coast.

Other hotels are discounting rates to disaster victims. One large luxury hotel in Tokyo has allowed hundreds of families to take rooms for up to several months.