TOKYO, March. 19 ― Japan’s online booking system for farm stays in rural villages should provide versions in foreign languages, because the number of foreign travelers in the country has grown five times, the agriculture ministry has said.
According to a survey conducted by the agriculture ministry, 63 villages that launched multilingual versions for farm stay booking accommodated 1,547 foreign visitors on average per village in 2017.
On the other hand, 142 villages that were available only in Japanese for online booking systems totaled 314 foreign on average per village.
It appears foreign tourists who do not speak Japanese face difficulties to book accommodations in rural Japan.
The Japanese agriculture ministry is pushing farmers to diversify their business into agri-tourism, by promoting farm stays in rural villages to revitalize local economies. It also offers foreign tourists an opportunity to experience traditional Japanese countryside life.
The idea is, by providing new experiences in rural areas and getting foreign tourists to share their images on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, to encourage repeat visits and generate new revenue in Japan.
In 2017, there were 28.7 million foreign visitors to Japan, spending 4.4 trillion yen, driven by the weak yen boosting the country’s travel boom to a new record.
Japan now has a target of 40 million annual foreign visitors in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.