Japanese region entices tourists with romance novels

By News from Elsewhere...
...as found by BBC Monitoring

image source, iStock
image captionOne of the love stories unfolds around the picturesque Kotohira Shrine

Japan's smallest prefecture is aiming to attract more Thai tourists by sponsoring a series of romance novels set in the region.

The southern Kagawa Prefecture has teamed up with four Thai writers for the initiative, who have each penned love stories inspired by their travels around the area, the Kyodo news agency reports. The series has been named Kagawa, Let Love Lead, and was launched at Thailand's National Book Fair in Bangkok.

Tourism officials are hoping that romantically-minded Thais will be inspired to hop on a plane after reading the novels, which include Winter Love in Takamatsu, and Shodoshima Forever.

Author Sirikarn Suppalertporn spent a week travelling around the region to research her novel - Destiny in Kotohira - sponsored by the local authorities. "I have visited only Japan's big cities, like Tokyo and Osaka, so I was intrigued to experience Japan's small towns, like Kotohira," she tells Kyodo.

Japan as a whole has seen tourism figures boom in recent months, particularly among South Korean and Chinese visitors. In February, 61,000 Thais visited the country, up 39% on the same period last year, National Tourism Organisation figures show.

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