PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Japanese entrepreneur is targeting an underserved corner of the tourism market: quiet, fluffy travelers.
Sonae Azuma, the toy travel agent, takes the stuffed animals around local Japanese highlights and blogs the trip on her Facebook page for the owners to see.
“I wanted to provide adventures for everyone, including people who are physically challenged,” she told CBS News. “If their stuffed animals could travel all over the world, I thought it would be a communication tool.”
Azuma says she tries to treat the toys as real people. She gives them orientations before leaving on their trip, stages pillow fights, snaps photos of them relaxing with beer of food and dresses them in doll-sized kimonos before tucking them into bed at a Japanese-style inn.
She explains that she’s in the red right now but insists the company could be feasible after she “scales-up” and gets partners from other cities. She believes there are plenty of people with little cash and time who would settle for sending their stuffed friends overseas.
“Lots of people have a special stuffed animal in their lives,” says Azuma.