"Pokémon Go" Event Attracts 87,000 Trainers to Tottori Sand Dunes
A “Safari Zone” special event for Niantic’s Pokémon Go augmented reality smart phone game was recently held at the Tottori Sand Dunes outside Tottori City in Tottori Prefecture in Japan, and much to the surprise of the locals the turn-out out was way above expectations, with more than 87,000 “trainers” showing up over the course of the event, which ran from November 24 – 26, 2017.
City officials projected a total turn-out of about 30,000 people over the course of the three-day event, but they were forced to revise their estimates after 15,000 visitors arrived on just the first day. So many guests showed up in search of rare Pokémon such as Mr. Mime and Unown that the organizers had to expand the scope of the play area to encompass the entire eastern half of the prefecture in order to accomodate them.
Although there were some traffic-related problems resulting from the event (mainly caused by visitors parking their cars in the streets in order to catch Pokémon), the “Pokémon Go Safari Zone” event proved a boon for local businesses, as visitors stuck around to sample the food and local color of Tottori City. The official public relations division for the city claims that the investigation into the economic impact is still on-going, but initial estimates are in the “billions of yen”.