THE first Japan Travel Week kicked off in Tokyo last night, carrying the hopes of local stakeholders that the consolidation of tradeshows will make it the world's largest international tourism event.
Shigeto Kubo, commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency, said: “Japan has various tourism exhibitions but they have all been segmented. This year is our first attempt to consolidate all the inbound, outbound, MICE, and domestic travel events into one big Japan Travel Week, making it one of the world’s largest international tourism events.”
Running from September 24 to 28, Japan Travel Week merges the country’s biggest inbound travel show, Visit Japan Travel Mart (VJTM), with a MICE component in the form of Visit Japan MICE Mart 2014.
The event is organised by JTA and Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). VJTM attracted 400 sellers and 358 buyers this year, while Visit Japan MICE Mart brought together 11 sellers and 18 buyers.
In addition, the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) is combining its international travel exhibition JATA Tabihaku with Tabi Fair Japan, a domestic tourism exhibition hosted by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association (JTTA), to form the JATA Tourism Expo Japan.
More than 970 organisations and companies from 47 prefectures throughout Japan, and 150 countries and regions worldwide are participating at JATA Tourism Expo Japan this year.
Norio Yamaguchi, JTTA chairman, commented: “The world’s travel market has been growing rapidly and the Asian market has been growing by 10 per cent year-on-year. Asia has gained the attention of the world (as a destination and travel market). With JATA Tourism Expo Japan, we would like to promote Japan to the world’s travel market and to make Japan a competitive destination in the world.”
Taleb Rifai, secretary general of UN World Tourism Organization, said: “The world has known Japanese travellers for a long time. It is about time for the world to know Japan and to come to this beautiful country. The region of Japan has to be opened up and the concentration of the distribution of travellers has to be more evenly distributed.”