Wednesday, 24th February 2016
In General Japan News,
Nara aiming to become a top LGBT destination
The city of Nara in south-central Honshu is aiming to become a top destination for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travellers in the coming years.
A whopping 2.08 million yen (£13,321) has been set aside for the next fiscal year to attract this demographic to the former Japanese capital.
Among the schemes to be rolled out will be an education programme to help hoteliers and innkeepers understand the ways in which they can make LGBT guests feel welcome.
Nara will also be the first municipality in Japan to join the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.
Fumio Komada, a Nara tourism official, told the Japan Times: “The impetus for learning how to attract more LGBT tourists was a 2014 film festival held at Nara Women’s University that featured LGBT-themed films.
“We decided to do something to appeal to tourists from that community.”
Many of Japan’s municipalities are aiming their tourism offerings at specific demographics in a bid to provide better services and attract more visitors.
It is hoped that many of the people who visit the temples and shrines in Kyoto will opt to extend their journey to Nara, which lies just an hour away by train.
Kyoto is an appealing destination for same-sex couples, as they can get married in the city, with both the Hotel Granvia and Kyoto’s Shunkoin Temple available to hire for the ceremonies.
As Japan aims to boost its tourist numbers overall and has gone a long way to do so in the past few years, Nara has not yet made the same gains.
Its tourist figures for 2014 stood at 14 million, representing a 2.5 per cent increase on 2013, which it aims to improve upon moving forward.