Japanese towns eager to lure foreign tourists via virtual reality videos

Published on : Wednesday, November 15, 2017

smartphoneGovernments throughout Japan are eager to lure more international tourists and some of them therefore are trying their luck at smartphone apps and virtual reality videos.


But municipalities, particularly those with lesser-reputed sightseeing spots are optimistic that the virtual reality videos would be responsible in reaching out to potential tourists both in Japan and overseas.


The central government has supported the efforts of the municipalities to make use of the concept of virtual reality with an aim to trigger tourism growth and generate new industries.


The government also aims to increase the number of foreign tourists to Japan to an overwhelming 40 million by the year 2020 when the capital would be hosting the Olympic and Paralympics and this compares with 24 million in 2016 as per the current record. The city of Bibai in Hokkaido has been providing a free virtual reality app for smartphones to display the regional sightseeing hubs for July 2015.


The app is known as Bibai City VR.


It offers users 360-degree panoramic views of the main attractions of the city by tilting their smartphones from side to side or up and down.


This app also contains a scene where a number of migratory birds take off from Lake Miyajima as tourists continue cheering. The lake is designated as a wetland and defined by the Ramsar Convention and is known for the large number of white-fronted geese that it attracts.


The app is available in Thai, Chinese and English and also in Japanese and the number of downloads top 11,000. The number of foreign tourists to the city rose by 30% in fiscal year 2016 from the previous year as per the city.


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