Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido is trying to bring back tourists from overseas in the wake of last month's massive earthquake, targeting vibrant Asian economies including Hong Kong.
The hotel industry in Hokkaido is still reeling from the magnitude-6.7 earthquake that jolted the southwestern region of the prefecture on Sept. 6, cutting power supply to over 5 million residents, killing 41 people and injuring more than 700.
Press reports said the quake caused at least 10 billion yen (about $90 million) in canceled reservations mainly by schools and foreign tourists.
The total damage to the Hokkaido infrastructure and all local industries is estimated to exceed 400 billion yen, according to Japanese newspaper reports.
"We are delivering our message to the whole world in six languages: Hokkaido is safe and has recovered already," Yasuhiro Tsuji, vice governor of Hokkaido, told NNA in an interview.
"We are cooperating with airlines in order to raise the number of travelers."
Tsuji was in Hong Kong this week for "Hokkaido Showcase: Food, Tourism and Investment," hosted by the provincial government and the Japan External Trade Organization. It is the first such event held overseas since the disaster.
A total of 14 companies and organizations exhibited in the food section of the event space while six companies and organizations joined a seminar on tourism. Hokkaido's nature draws many skiers from around the world and also offers a cool, dry summer.
Tsuji said his prefecture is placing importance on Hong Kong, where people already have deep knowledge of Japanese food and culture.
Last year, a record 28.7 million people from overseas visited Japan, up 19.3 percent on year, according to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization. Japan also attracted a record 2.2 million people from Hong Kong in 2017, up 21.3 percent from 2016, the data showed. (NNA/Kyodo)