This series of visits supposed to be conducted last March and April. Because of the great disaster attacked eastern Japan on March 11, they were all cancelled. But getting acknowledged that Kyushu area is quite safe for the tourists, this event revived in August.
International Cruise Ship Promotion Council of Oita Prefecture, the joint reception team, formed by Oita prefecture and Beppu city offices has long been working to welcome those great numbers of passengers from China that they first experienced. They had several preparatory meetings. Many tourism related organizations such as Beppu Tourist Association, Beppu Foreign Tourist Information Office (FTIO), Beppu Hotel Association, transportation companies, shops, woman’s association, tourist attraction sectors, etc. took part in this event.
Forty five Chinese students studying in Beppu University played a big role as translators and companions for Chinese passengers. They were positioned at the pier, the main shopping streets, the fire station, the reception area, and so on.
FTIO provided more than 20 English and Korean speaking staffs in total at the pier, downtown, JR Beppu station and Kannawa offices. They helped passengers make effective one day trip in Beppu and surrounded area working together with Chinese students. They became friends with some crew members who repeatedly visited Beppu through this series of voyages. They were very good speakers for Beppu tourism announcing the attractive points to their passengers and fellow crew members.
Many volunteer groups such as woman’s folk dance team, drummers, a high school brass band, kids street dancers, etc., played welcome and farewell performance at the pier.
The authority concerned estimates the economic effects of this special event be near one hundred million yen, equivalent to US$1.3 million. It is quite obvious that the impact to the local tourism industry by Chinese tourists is quite dramatic. We really expect that Chinese market shall surpass Korean market in the near future for the tourism of Beppu. (KK)