A NEWLY created marketing body has been set up to bring Japan's national tourism agencies together in order for the country to meet its ambitious target of 20 million international arrivals by 2020.
Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), for the first time, engaged external marketing experts to create the Marketing Strategy Headquarters.
Speaking to the media at Visit Japan Travel Mart yesterday, Yasuhito Iijima, senior director Inbound Tourism Branding and Promotion, JTA, said it took Japan 10 years to double international arrivals from five to 10 million last year. “Now, we aim to double the number in only seven years. Therefore, we have formed the Marketing Strategy Headquarters to carry out market research and shortlist targets on which to carry out promotional programmes.”
Marketing Strategy Headquarters will also measure the effectiveness of the promotions through the travel cycle to make sure Japan is reaching out to travellers at all points.
The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), which comes under the JTA, will join the new body in the coming fiscal year for a more integrated approach to programme execution.
Visitor arrivals to Japan last year totalled 10.4 million, according to preliminary figures, with Asia contributing 76.7 per cent or eight million visitors. Tentative figures for January-August 2014 show 8.6 million arrivals, a year-on-year increase of 25.8 per cent.
Meanwhile JTA is also encouraging visitors to travel beyond the Golden Route to more regional destinations, he added, saying that there is a need for itineraries that combine travel through international and domestic hubs.
Iijima elaborated: “We would like to encourage tours where travellers arrive in Tokyo, tour regional sightseeing areas and depart from a regional airport, or arrive at a regional airport, visit regional destinations and depart from regional airports.
“To enable this, we will develop and disseminate information about regional destinations with diverse appeal.”