Zac and Vanessa Arrive To Save Japanese Tourism
Step aside, Super World Travelers! Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens celebrated the Japanese premiere of "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" at Tokyo's Prince Hotel just days after arriving, like the Pitt-Jolie clan, at Narita International Airport.
Will all this celebrity publicity boost Japan's ailing tourism industry? The number of foreign visitors to the island plummeted 24 percent last December alone, despite a 0.1 percent increase for 2008 overall.
Locally, 2009 started with a bang as over 99 million people celebrated the New Year at Shinto shrines all over Japan, some undoubtedly to offer prayers for economic success this year. And a just-announced joint tourism initiative with Hong Kong should bolster flagging numbers later on in the year. But if Japan's looking for spokeskids, they could do worse than the Efron-Hudgens team. After all, if they're not employed by Disney any more, the kids might appreciate the work.
· Number of foreign tourists visiting Japan plunges 24.1% in Dec [Japan Today]
· New Year pilgrims hit record in recession-hit Japan [Reuters via Yahoo!]
· Hong Kong, Japan launch tourism exchange year [China View]
· Japan coverage [Jaunted]