“Japan Travel Week” was held from Wednesday, Sep. 24 to Tuesday, Sep. 30. It consisted of 3 travel related events – “VISIT JAPAN Travel Mart 2014” and “VISIT JAPAN MICE Mart 2014” both aimed to attract more foreign visitors and “Tourism EXPO Japan” aimed to encourage domestic, outbound and inbound travels. This was the inaugural trial for the 3 events to be collaborated by being held simultaneously and transmitted information toward inside and outside of Japan about the significant role and effect of tourism industry.
*Inabove picture from the left: Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO, Ryoichi Matsuyama, President of JNTO, Shigeto Kubo, Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, Norio Yamaguchi, Chairman of Japan Travel and Tourism Association, Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman of JATA
For the opening of “Japan Travel Week,” organizers of the 3 events held a joint press conference on September 25. Shigeto Kubo, Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency (picture on the right,) in his opening address, emphasized that “international interaction is essential for tourism” and how significant for the 3 events to be held in parallel. He also expressed that Japan Tourism Agency hopes to continue this event next year and beyond in the same framework in cooperation with relevant organizations.
Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO commented this effort is a “notable event” and evaluated that it coordinates with stakeholders inside and outside Japan. He also explained such a large scaled tourism related event being held in Japan enables to demonstrate a positive attitude of the tourism industry in Japan to accommodate foreign visitors.
Scales and details of each event explained by each organizer are as follows.
[VISIT JAPAN Travel Mart 2014/ VISIT JAPAN MICE Mart 2014]
These 2 events co-organized by Japan Tourism Agency and Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will attract 350 buyers and 12 medias from 26 countries/areas. 17 buyers from 8 countries/areas have come to Japan for the MICE section, and 9000 business meetings are scheduled during 2 and half days.
After the business meetings, about 150 participants are scheduled to attend the inspection tours in 8 courses. Those tours feature new experience-oriented contents, including visit to local governments in Hokuriku/ Shinetsu area – where Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) will open next year, visit to Tohoku area and inspection of unique venues which can be offered for MICE use. Ryoichi Matsuyama, President of JNTO expressed expectations for more needs for MICE and Japan bound travels to be created through such activities.
[Tourism EXPO Japan ]
Former “JATA ’TABIHAKU’ Travel Showcase” and “Travel Fair Japan” were consolidated into a new event “Tourism EXPO Japan 2014.” For this first year event, 1,129 companies (1,187 booths) from 151 countries/areas and 574 companies/organizations (1,098 booths) throughout Japan participated, and 150 thousand visitors were expected.
Norio Yamaguchi, Chairman of Japan Travel and Tourism Association pointed out that tourism is conceived as an important means for regional economy vitalization and creations of new tourist attractions are active throughout Japan. He hoped “the event will be fully utilized” in order to succeed in a global competition.
Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman of JATA wished that the event will become the cornerstone for Japan to develop into a major country in the world tourism. In order for this event to become truly worldwide, it will work together with PATA and UNWTO and also plans long term development beyond 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
▼Charms of Japan were appealed to 1,700 guests in an unique venue “Tokyo National Museum”
As a part of “Japan Travel Week” an exchange meeting “JAPAN NIGHT,” which provided experience of “Japanese world” was held. It was a follow up of an eve of “TABI HAKU 2014” which was held in Zojoji Temple last year, and took place in the Tokyo National Museum in Ueno this year. Tourism ministers, ambassadors and tourism related persons from around the world were invited in this unique venue and charms of Japan were appealed to them.
Details of the event appear in the following pictures.
(Kaoru Yamaoka, Travel Voice Editorial Department)