AS THE number of Indian travellers to Japan continues to rise yearly, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is stepping up efforts to penetrate the market.
According to JNTO statistics, Japan welcomed 38,900 Indian travellers in 1H2013, a 12.7 per cent year-on-year rise. Having received 59,354 travellers in 2011 and 68,914 in 2012, Japan predicts 80,000 Indians will visit this year.
Hideki Manabe, executive director, JNTO Singapore Office, said: “The Kanagawa area is seeing significant growth (in arrivals) due to an increase in visitors to Yokohama and Hakone. Other destinations gaining in popularity are Shizuoka, Mount Fuji, Hiroshima, Chiba, Fukuoka, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.”
He also said that JNTO was “very optimistic” about the Indian market and there was “considerable focus on exploring marketing activities and achieving significant growth rate in 2013”.
The NTO intends to participate in travel events such as SATTE and liaise with Indian trade players through travel seminars and roadshows, as well as identify and promote suitable destinations for filming to attract more Bollywood filmmakers to shoot on location in Japan.
Susrita Banerjee, managing director, Fly Faraway, commented: “Indians are very attracted to Japanese culture and greater flight connectivity to the Far East is fuelling the opportunity to travel to Japan.
“Many tourists are stopping over for a few days on their way to destinations on the US west coast. The onsen (hot springs) are becoming popular for their therapeutic properties,” he added.
However, Koushik Goswami, general manager-outbound, Travelcorp, shared: “We facilitated location-hunting for shoots in Japan as well as the recruitment of bilingual technicians, line producers and camera persons for the film, which was challenging. Flights, hotels and ground handling were a cakewalk by comparison.”