Unique Japan Tours Managing Director Darina Slattery is currently attending the annual Visit Japan Travel and MICE Mart 2017 and is actively seeking new ideas & inspiration for our upcoming new 2018/2019 tour brochure. After day two of the huge trade show, the headline news was centred around the inbound tourism figures to Japan, which is at an all-time high with figures reaching 24million in 2016 and the first half of 2017 trending above target.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation had set an ambitious target of 40 million inbound foreign visitors by 2020 and 60 million inbound foreign visitors by 2030. These latest industry figures show that the JNTO are on track to achieving these targets, though clearly, the scale of the challenge remains huge.
As could be expected, Japan’s neighbouring Asian countries still represent the majority of foreign visitors and whilst the specific breakdowns weren’t shared, the segments from the U.K/Ireland, Europe and US are growing at a faster rate and indeed collectively catching up on Asian based tourists in overall numbers.
Darina Slattery, MD of Unique Japan Tours with Mr. Ryoichi Matsuyama, President of JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organisation), at Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart 2017
Darina mentions, “It’s very obvious that all local and regional tourism officers are a lot more aggressive and interested in foreign visitors. I’ve been coming to this show for 10 years now. The difference in their attitude and the preparation they have come to us with is a credit to the (JNTO’s) national tourist board international efforts to encourage these previously sleepy towns to come alive and welcome foreign guests to the overseas markets. It certainly makes my job a bit easier but at the same time, challenging. The more tourists, the more we have to search for a truly unique experience. So that’s why I’m here and that’s what keeps me motivated to find new hidden treasures in Japan…. and believe me, there are still so much more to come!”