The Cotswolds are apparently quite the destination for Japanese tourists – so much so that the railway station at Moreton in Marsh has translated some of its signs into Japanese to help them get their bearings.
According to the Daily Mail, the Japanese signs are the brainchild of station manager Teresa Ceesay, who says that they have made Japanese tourists feel more welcome and made it easier for her small staff to take care of customers. She explained:
“We’ve had a very positive reaction from Japanese visitors with many saying thank you. The Cotswolds is so well promoted in Japan. It’s just to help tourists when they arrive. I’d noticed a lot coming here and they get off the train and look a bit puzzled. They’d ask in our ticket office but we only have one member of staff. It’s only a few signs but it means a lot to people.”
Approximately 50,000 Japanese tourists visit the Cotswolds annually. The signs show the tourists which trains go to which cities and which buses go to which attractions, so they don’t have to worry about ending up in the wrong place. Most Japanese tourists choose to rely on public transportation while in Britain, according to Chris Dee of Forest of Dean Tourism. He explained:
“The Japanese are wary about driving here, so the train is very important and Moreton is the main stop.”
One of the most important phrases to learn in any foreign language is “Where is the bathroom?” The Moreton station has that covered, too, with Japanese signs that point visitors to the toilets.
At about £350, the signs are undoubtedly a good investment. They make tourists feel welcome, make it easier for the railway station staff to keep everyone taken care of, and have even been highlighted in Visit Britain magazine.