Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Japan to Hire Foreigners for Travel Advice

Wow! Look at this. Here's one place that the Japanese government seems to be allowing to practice of hiring foreigners!

(Reuters) - Japan is planning to recruit dozens of foreigners to visit the country and give advice on how to make things more travel-friendly for non-Japanese speaking visitors even as it aims for higher tourist numbers.
The government will pay travel allowances to about 100 native English, Chinese and Korean speakers to visit key cities and come up with ideas on how to make it easier for travelers to use public transport, stay at local hotels and eat at local restaurants, said an official at the Japan Tourism Agency.
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.


Ira Hata said...

They better figure out how to deal with the idiots who are rioting against Japan in China before wasting tax payers' money on stupid activities like this one...

Andrea said...

How do I find out more about this opportunity? I love travelling and have never been to Japan but would love to be able to critique its major cities in terms of ease of communication and access for foreign travellers! Where do I find out how to do this?

mikeintokyorogers said...

Thanks, well, I'm sure if people are giving travel advice for foreigners in Japan, they'd have to be Japanese speakers and pretty much knowledgable about Japan.