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Tuesday, 31st May 2016
In Japan Travel News,

Revival of tourism could be key to quake-hit Kyushu's recovery

Japan’s government has announced plans to help get the Kyushu region back on its feet after it was rocked by two strong earthquakes.

The regime will subsidise the costs of repairs to hotels and promote discounts on stays in the area in a bid to use tourism to get the island back on track.

Sources suggest that the emphasis on rebuilding the tourism industry is designed to kick-start a number of other sectors and provide crucial employment.

Many of the buildings and much of the infrastructure in Kyushu was damaged when the earthquakes hit in April, leaving homes and lives in ruins.

A massive clean-up operation has been underway since the 6+ magnitude earthquakes hit, but now that many of the immediate needs have been met, long-term solutions are also required.

Plans for the support measures are expected to be finalised in the coming days, with 700 billion yen (£43 billion) already put aside for quake recovery efforts this fiscal year.

A draft support plan outlines subsidies for small and mid-sized inns and hotels to help repair damaged buildings, with central and local government footing around 75 per cent of the bill.

It is not common practice in Japan for private businesses hit by disaster to receive such help from the government, with the last time it happened being in the aftermath of the 2011 quake and tsunami that hit north-eastern Japan.

As well as encouraging visitors to the region through tourism, the government will organise international meetings and high-profile events in Kyushu to bring in additional income and keep the area in focus.

The 6.5 and 7.3-magnitude quakes of mid-April led 200,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.

As a result of the earthquakes, the Kyushu Economic Research Center has estimated that the region will see 1.4 million fewer guests between April and June compared to a year ago.

That equates to a 36 billion yen loss in revenue, emphasising the important of help for the area.

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