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Oct 20, 2010
Japan Recruits Foreign Tourists as Travel Advisors
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Japan aims to improve and boost their one of the main source of their economy, tourism industry. The government will pay recruit dozens of foreigners to tour and experience Japan and later give advice on how to make the country more travel-friendly for foreigners.

Japanese government will invite about 100 native English, Chinese and Korean speakers, all expenses paid, to visit key cities in Japan and live like an average tourist. They will stay at a local hotels, dine in local restaurants and use public transport.

Although Japan has made an effort to provide information in other languages in recent years, especially in major cities, these remain hit-or-miss and English still dominates.

But Japan's National Tourism Organization projects that the number of visitors from China will reach a record 1.5 million this year, many of them high-spending tourists eager to shop for Japanese electronics and other goods.

"What we hear is that there really isn't enough information on things like how to buy train tickets, or how to use the baths in traditional Japanese inns," said the official.

"It's hard for us Japanese to judge how prepared different parts of the country are -- we need people to use as monitors who really don't know Japan at all."

The official said one way to recruit these travelers could be over the Internet but that they would look at other methods such as asking the relatives of foreign students studying in Japan.

All expenses within Japan will be paid by branch offices of the Transport Ministry, which oversees the Tourism Agency. Part of plane fares to Japan may also be covered.

The information will be compiled by the government as part of a survey of tourism preparedness by late March next year.


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