The Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has given up its plan to give away 10,000 free flights to foreigners to visit the country after the government refused to allocate a budget for the campaign.
The 1.18 billion yen budget request for the project titled Fly to Japan! (to offer flight tickets to 10,000 foreigners) was not approved as part of the governmental draft budget for FY 2012, the JTA said on its website.
The campaign, which received a lot of media coverage in the autumn when it was first announced, was supposed to bring tourists back to Japan after the natural disasters of March 11 and the ongoing problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, as well as reinvigorate the Japanese tourism industry.
"We realize that this announcement is going to disappoint thousands of people around the world, but we hope people will understand how insensitive it would appear for the Japanese government to give people free flights to Japan when the cities, towns and villages devastated by the tsunami are still in desperate need of funding for reconstruction," the JTA said on its website.
The government has been trying to get the message out to the world that Japan is still a safe destination to visit, except for area around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that the country has many attractive tourist destinations.© Japan Today