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Friday 16 February 2024

No monkey business: Nagano sets its sights on Australian tourists

Nagano is probably not the first region that comes to mind for Australians visiting Japan.

But the Nagano Tourism Oganization plans to change that by appointing its first Australian representative to boost awareness. 

And not just any representative but industry veteran Helen Wong, a legendary figure in the travel business over five decades. 

It is significant move by the regional tourism body that aims to position Nagano - known as the Rooftop of Japan - in the forefront of Australian travellers’ thoughts and plans through strategic marketing and public relations.

The first assignment will take place on Tuesday, February 27 with a 30-minute themed webinar on the  prefecture, which hosted the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 1998. 


Nagano is 225km north-west of Tokyo and one of the major attractions in the alpine region is the Jigokudani Monkey Park (top), where the Japanese macaques, commonly known as snow monkeys, bathe in the hot springs. 

Tokyo and Nagano are connected by the Hokoriku Shinkansen (bullet train) - which takes 80-minutes. 

“It’s an honour to be representing this breath-taking, naturally gifted corner of Japan,” said Wong (right).

“Nagano has so much to offer with a great number of Australians already familiar with the ski fields, national parks, hot springs and, of course, the Jigokudani Monkey Park,” she said.

“There’s a lot more to the region, however, which needs to be highlighted in attracting newcomers and further building on the already impressive figures.”

Wong has 45 years’ of experience in global tourism having represented the Macao Government Tourism Office and the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Commission. She also has her own events and travel business.


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