A new television series in Japan is expected to return P.E.I. to the salad days of Japanese tourism, says Premier Robert Ghiz.

Robert Ghiz - Custom

P.E.I. could see as many as 20,000 Japanese tourists this year, says P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz. (CBC)

Ghiz is currently on a trade mission in Asia, and has heard encouraging words from the Japanese travel industry.

NHK, Japan's national broadcaster, is about to launch a 156-part series on the life of Hanako Muraoka, the woman who translated Anne of Green Gables into Japanese. The series is expected to renew interest in the novel and in visiting P.E.I.

"We used to get around 10,000 visitors a year from Japan. It's dropped down to about 3,000," said Ghiz.

"According to tourism operators in Japan they believe visitation to Prince Edward Island should increase dramatically. We're working on some different projects, that we hope within the next couple of weeks we'll be able to announce, and we're hoping we'll be able to get the visitation back up to at least 10,000 and they're even estimating that we could be as high as 20,000."

Ghiz has visited several countries while in Asia. Part of the trip has been about attracting international students. In Taiwan, officials from Holland College on the trip were working to bring students to the culinary school, and UPEI has signed a deal with a science university.

Ghiz said seafood companies, potato and soybean producers are also expecting to see business deals come from contacts made during the trade mission.

Some deals have already been signed, he said.

The province pays for about 40 per cent of the costs of the approximately 30 trade mission delegates. The mission has included stops in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong.