Major travel agency H.I.S. Travel has cancelled a campaign offering overseas-bound Japanese travellers the opportunity to be accompanied by "beautiful girls from the University of of Tokyo (Todai)."
H.I.S. pulled the campaign on Wednesday, only 12 hours after it was launched, following complaints on its website and Twitter account that the campaign was sexual harassment, Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday.
The controversial campaign said that five college student models appearing in the popular biannual book "Todai bijo zukan" (Pictorial Guide to the Beautiful Girls of Todai) would be available to sit next to customers, chosen by lottery, throughout their flight to an overseas destination.
According to H.I.S, the five winners would be able to choose one out of five “Beautiful Girls” from the prestigious university to sit next to them. In addition to accompanying the travellers to their destination, the girls would also offer commentary on various tourist attractions, as well as oversee the homework of the children of the travellers, if necessary.
The campaign was scheduled to be held in July and August and the travel costs of the students would be covered by H.I.S.
In an attempt at damage control, H.I.S explained, “The concept behind the campaign was to introduce a fresh and innovative inflight experience.”
However, the campaign backfired, receiving harsh criticism online. One commenter said: “If customers are hoping to gain travel knowledge, is it necessary for them to travel with a female college student?” Another said: “Foreign passengers traveling on the same flight may interpret the situation in a strange manner.”© Japan Today