Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has requested a budget of 37,363 million JPY for FY2017 starting April 1 2017, 52% more than the FY2016 budget, to accelerate the government’s growth strategy for the tourism industry. Three pillars of the budgetary request are ‘development of stress-free travel environment’ at 15,532 million JPY (+93%), ‘innovation of the tourism industry and enhancement of international competitiveness’ at 12,344 million JPY (+39%) and ‘improvement of tourism resources for local revitalization’ at 3,331 million JPY (+21%). In addition, the budgetary request for recovery programs in Tohoku reaches 5,735 million JPY (+27%).
In the framework of ‘development of stress-free travel environment,’ a budget of 15,500 million JPY for development and acceleration of inbound travel bases has been requested for hard developments, such as multi-languages and changeable tourist information systems in airports, stations, seaports, bus terminals or cities or boarding bridges for cruise ships, and soft developments, such as development of indoor Wi-Fi environment or upgrading of toilet. Also, a demonstration program using big data is included.
In the framework of ‘innovation of the tourism industry and enhancement of international competitiveness,’ a budget of 391 million JPY (+7%) for support to human resource training for tourism has been requested to train students, seniors or women who want to work for the tourism industry in terms both of quality and quantity, maybe including launch of ‘Tourism MBA.’
New budgetary requests for FY2017 include healthy vacation rental (minpaku) service at 134 million yen and support to enhancement of information security at 31 million JPY.
For the Visit Japan Program, JTA has requested 10,000 million JPY (+42%) for Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and 1,500 million JPY (+20%) for joint efforts by the central and local governments, mainly targeting Europe or U.S. market, luxury travelers and young travelers and strengthening extension of LCC and cruise networks and digital marketing activities using ICT.
For enrichment of the interpreter guide system, a budget of 50 million JPY (+156%) has been requested, and for promotion of MICE, 238 million JPY (+19%) requested.
In the framework of ‘improvement of tourism resources for local revitalization,’ a budget of 1,990 million JPY (+21%) for creation of cross-region tourist routes has been requested to support local governments for creation of experience-typed products or promotional and marketing activities in foreign countries.
In addition, JTA has requested 440 million JPY (+49%) for creation of tourist attractions using existing tourism resources, 120 million JPY (+72%) for theme-oriented tourism for local regions and 530 million JPY (+6%) for tourism statistics.