**Virtual Tourism Ambassador ‘Kasukabe Tsukushi’ Boosts Saitama Prefecture’s Tourism**
A VTuber named “Kasukabe Tsukushi,” who introduces tourist attractions and local specialties within the prefecture through her videos, is gaining popularity. After being appointed by the prefecture as the “Saitama Virtual Tourism Ambassador,” the number of subscribers to the “Choko Tabi Saitama” YouTube channel, which provides tourism information, has surged to over 93,000 – a fifteen-fold increase in a year and a half. As a result, the prefecture has decided to extend her term as ambassador.
Since 2018, Kasukabe has been sharing topics about the prefecture as a “Virtual Saitama Resident” on her own. After applying for and being appointed the prefecture’s virtual tourism ambassador in December 2021, she has published 11 videos introducing tourist spots and local sake as an ambassador.
In her videos, Kasukabe, wearing a straw hat and dressed in a ladylike style, introduces local sites with her unique tone. She lets viewers feel as if they are touring with her as she experiences boating in Nagatoro Town or visits Kawagoe Castle in Kawagoe City, and describes the scenery and history with vivid enthusiasm.
The prefecture had hoped that Kasukabe would serve as a messenger to younger demographics, who are often difficult to reach, and has been pleased with her unexpected popularity.
In March of this year, a bus tour guided by Kasukabe was held where monitors were installed on the bus. In this fan-oriented event, participants could send messages via LINE, to which Kasukabe would respond on the spot. The Prefectural Tourism and Local Products Association limited participation to 30 people, and the event sold out in about an hour and a half.
Upon having her term as a virtual tourism ambassador extended, Kasukabe commented to the Yomiuri Shimbun, “I am eager to keep working so that many more people will take interest! I want to keep gathering and sharing the latest information!”