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Tohoku launches 'reconstruction tourism'

TOHOKU Tourism Promotion Organization has launched a new buzzword, 'reconstruction tourism', launching tours to areas that are being rebuilt after the tsunami over a year ago and cajoling world travel leaders to use tourism's potential to help rebuild crisis-hit destinations.

  19/04/2012 08:30

Its chairman, Hiroaki Takahashi, told TTG Asia e-Daily following his speech at the opening of the summit yesterday that the reconstruction tours were aimed at students in particular, "so that they will remember the disaster". 

The organisation is collaborating with related parties to form these tours. Travel consultants were being prepared to string up such tours, and tour guides affected by the crisis were being retrained to be "teller of stories", he said.

But beyond these tours, Tohoku's natural scenery and onsens were the reason to visit, he said.

"It is important to emphasise that we are safe to visit, and how wonderful Tohoku's scenery and onsens are. Its people are also very kind and friendly," Takahashi said.

In a moving speech, Noriko Abe-Okami, who turned her ryokan Minami-Sanriku Hotel Kanyo, 100km north of Sendai, into a refuge for people following the tsunami, said: "If you visit affected areas, you will learn the importance of safeguarding lives."

An outpouring of support saw travel CEOs making their way to Sendai yesterday for the first part of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit, witnessing first-hand the safeness and preparedness of the region to handle tourism. Sendai is the largest city of the Tohoku region.

The summit continues in Tokyo today.

(Source: TTG Asia)

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