Kumamon Marathon To Be Run In Thailand To Boost Tourism

Kumamon Marathon to be run in Thailand to boost tourismRiding a wave of popularity in Thailand for its cute red-cheeked bear mascot, Kumamoto Prefecture will stage a 5-kilometer “Kumamon Marathon” in Bangkok in January.
The marathon is part of a prefecture-led campaign in the Southeast Asian nation to promote tourism in Kumamoto, which is still recovering from a series of powerful earthquakes that rocked Kyushu in mid-April.

The campaign will kick off in September at shopping malls and restaurants in Bangkok in cooperation with a local business conglomerate.

The prefectural government said Aug. 17 it plans to sell T-shirts and hair bands featuring Kumamon, as well as promote local specialties of Kumamoto.

The campaign will also have a screenwriting contest with stories set in the prefecture featuring Kumamon. Three scripts will be selected for filmmaking.

Kumamoto has recorded a steady increase of tourists from Thailand in recent years. It said 8,435 Thais visited in 2013, with the figure rising to 10,621 in 2014 and jumping to 19,850 in 2015.

Prefectural officials are keeping their fingers crossed that visitor numbers don't drop due to the April earthquakes.