Japan has been voted favourite long-haul country and Tokyo favourite overseas city in The Guardian & Observer Travel Awards 2011. Readers gave Japan a whopping 98.9% satisfaction score and Tokyo a brilliant 98.2%. This is the second year in a row readers have voted Tokyo their favourite overseas city.
The Guardian Travel Editor, Gemma Bowes said, “I am absolutely thrilled that our readers’ voted Japan their favourite long haul travel destination this year, and Tokyo their favourite long haul city for the second time in a row. Despite visitor numbers falling this year, this just goes to show that travellers to Japan always return home completely in love with the country. Whether the disaster earlier this year made more readers feel compelled to show their support and affection by voting, or whether they would always have placed it top if the tragedy had never happened is hard to tell. But either way, we really hope this recognition helps speed the recovery of tourism in this magical, fascinating destination, and will perhaps encourage travellers to go soon, to make the most of the fantastic deals available right now, and to experience the warm welcome of the Japanese people who will be so happy and grateful they have not been forgotten by the world.”
Many parts of Japan, including popular holiday destinations such as Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji, Nagasaki and Okinawa, were outside the area of north-eastern Japan affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas has continuously operated as normal. In the initial days after the earthquake Tokyoites did suffer some inconveniences – such as beer and yogurt shortages because packaging for these items was produced in the tsunami-hit area - but the capital is more than 230 km away from the earthquake zone and was soon back to normal.
The Japan National Tourism Organization hopes that these great results for Japan and Tokyo in The Guardian and Observer Travel Awards will help get people booking trips to Japan again.
“We’re hugely happy with the results from the Guardian and Observer readers. We hope that this will help assure event planners that people do want to go to Japan, and that previous visitors have had overwhelmingly positive experiences in the country”, said Chad Shiver, MICE Manager at the Japan National Tourism Organization’s London office.