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Wednesday, 18th March 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Small Japanese town relying on manga to boost tourism

The small Japanese town of Tottori has announced that manga comics are being used to lure more tourists from overseas.

Popular serial comic and animation Detective Conan tells the tale of teenage detective who shrank into a young boy after being forced to drink a potion, and now he will be entrusted to raise awareness of Tottori airport. The airport was renamed to Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport to capitalise on the comic's success, while the gateway, lobby and baggage claim area have been filled with various posters and illustrations.

The other airport in Tottori, Yonago Kitaro, is named after 'Gegege no Kitaro', another popular manga about monsters. Tottori is the least populated prefecture in the country, with 578,000 people living across 3,500 sq km, but Yonago Kitaro actually welcomes two million passengers annually.

Ambassador for the prefecture Mr Hirai said: "Tottori is known for its manga, a symbol of Cool Japan. There are more than ten million visitors coming to Tottori annually, and I want to particularly increase our foreign visitors."

According to data by Japan Tourism Agency, 46,850 foreign travellers stayed in Tottori in 2013, a rise of 18.6 per cent from the year earlier. This is great news for the region but still pales in comparison to Tottori's neighbouring prefectures that boast larger international airports and better-connected infrastructure. Furthermore, the town still need to deal with flight demand, considering that only five domestic flights operate daily to Tokyo's Haneda airport, and just a few chartered from China, Taiwan and Russia.

Conan's adventures are available in 28 countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, France, Spain, Italy and the UK. Detective Conan, which began in 1994, was created by Gosho Aoyama and still remains a firm favourite in Japan.