Unified tourism authority planned

According to The Japan Times Online, “The transport ministry is planning to integrate its tourism-related divisions into a single authority in fiscal 2008 to better attract international visitors and help reinvigorate local areas through tourism, officials said Tuesday.Under the goal of making tourism a major industry, the government is trying to increase the annual number of foreign tourists to 10 million by 2010, and the planned authority would help spur those efforts, the officials said.The launch of such an authority has been urged by both Diet chambers in resolutions following the enactment in December of a basic tourism promotion law, as well as by the travel and transport industries.About 7.33 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2006, compared with about 17.53 million Japanese tourists going abroad, which the government aims to increase by 2010 to 20 million.”

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