Tourism in Japan is understandably reeling after a devastating earthquake and tsunami ravaged the country in early March.
One of the hardest hit cities in terms of tourism loss has been Fukushima. Just 40 miles from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the once-bustling tourist hotspot has seen a dramatic drop-off in visitors in recent weeks.
Despite the poor numbers, not all tourists are staying away. Local shop owner Yumiko Sato was surprised that her shop saw some signs of life in the days after its re-opening.
“We thought business would be in complete ruins. But it’s not as bad as we thought. At least we’re getting some customers who are buying,” she recently told the AP.
However, the economic impact of the quake is expected to be great. Fukushima welcomed 56 million visitors in 2009 and brought in nearly $3 billion in 2008. 2011 tourism numbers will likely pale in comparison by year’s end.