Kyoto starts new 'Empty' tourism campaign to attract tourists during coronavirus outbreak -- Feb 18
Visitors to Kyoto have plummeted, prompting a new series of ads showing sites like the Arashiyama bamboo forest totally devoid of people.

Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto is one of the country’s best-preserved areas, boasting a whopping 17 UNESCO world heritage sites that draw thousands of tourists to its historic streets year after year.

In fact, there have been so many visitors to the city in recent years that the area has been struggling with issues related to overtourism. However, following the coronavirus outbreak last month, which prompted the Chinese government to place restrictions on outbound overseas group tours, the city is now facing a problem on the opposite end of the spectrum — a drop in tourists so dramatic that local shop owners say they haven’t seen anything like it in 30 years.

With Kyoto being one of the top destinations for Chinese tourists, who make up the largest contingent of foreign visitors to Japan, the restriction on travel is hitting businesses hard, and as the number of coronavirus cases in Japan continues to rise, a large number of locals and other international tourists are also avoiding travel, which is compounding the problem.

In order to tackle the issue, merchants around the Ukyo and Nishikyo wards in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district have begun a new advertising campaign to encourage tourists to visit the area. The slogan for the campaign is “Suitemasu Arashiyama“, which translates to “Empty Arashiyama“, and there are four images that have been produced for the promotion, each one showing a popular tourist spot in the area.