Prince Edward Island, the setting of the Anne of Green Gables novels, is seeing an upsurge in Japanese tourists thanks to a new television series based on the life of the woman who translated the classic into Japanese.
Since Japanese public broadcaster NHK aired “Hanako and Anne” in March, Prince Edward Island is once again becoming a popular tourist destination for the Japanese, says Canadian Tourism Minister Robert Henderson.
The 156-part series depicts the life of Hanako Muraoka, the woman who translated Anne of Green Gables to Japanese, and will be aired for six months.
Japanese tourism on Prince Edward Island has been slipping in recent years. But renewed interest in the children’s classic has driven up tourism to the scenic island—PEI has logged a 47 percent increase in traffic from Japan on its tourism website since last year.
“Since Hanako and Anne was announced, we’ve been looking at ways to maximize opportunities for the province’s tourism product in one of our key international markets,” said Henderson.
He added that the tourism ministry has partnered with NHK, Air Canada, the Canadian Tourism Commission, and several event organizers in Japan to cater to booming demand.
“Those partnerships have allowed the province to greatly enhance its marketing in Japan, and the timing couldn’t be better.”
Tourism PEI said it invested $140,000 in promotional and marketing activities, such as media and trade events, enhanced social media, art shows and exhibitions.
The NHK biographical drama is among Japan’s most popular TV series, with an audience of close to 60 million.
“The response to the series in Japan has been absolutely overwhelming,” said Yuka Takahashi, Tourism PEI’s Japanese representative.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: “Green Gables, Cavendish, PEI” by Robert Hiscock/Flickr