Sunday, July 1, 2012

Japan Times: Recovery of Japan Tourism

by Armand Vaquer

Above, Osaka Castle, featured in "Godzilla Raids Again."  Photo by Armand Vaquer.
The Japan Times has an editorial on Japan tourism entitled, "Recovery of Japan Tourism." It begins with:
The 2012 white book on tourism endorsed by the Cabinet on June 15 shows that foreign tourists are once again visiting Japan. The Japanese government has a plan to attract 18 million tourists from abroad by 2016. To ensure its success, it will be vital to utilize not only historic sites and places of natural beauty but also events and attractions in urban areas. Training personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to interact effectively with visitors from overseas will also be important, as will improving information and access for tourist attractions, and related tourism infrastructure.
While it is good to set such an ambitious goal of 18 million visitors, the state of currency exchange is a problem that has to be solved if Japan wants to draw more Americans to the country. The same goes for other foreign currencies whose purchasing power has diminished over the past few years due to the high cost of the yen.
Above, Kyoto from Kiyomizu-dera.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Currently, the rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and Japanese yen is hovering around 79-80 yen per dollar exchanged. This is slightly better than it had been a few months ago, but it is a far cry from the rate I received in 2007 of 116 yen per dollar.

 The Japanese tourism industry should also "think outside the box" to entice tourists who have special cultural interests such as manga, anime and kaiju. Some travel agencies are already tailoring tours to manga and anime fans, but fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies are still being neglected.

That is why The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan can be a useful means for tour companies to tailor tours to movie location sites and landmarks. There'd be some overlap as some of the sites and landmarks are already a tour stop (such as Osaka Castle at top and Kiyomizu-dera above) or close by to other attractions. The guide was designed to be usable by tourists and tour companies.

To read the full editorial, go here.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.