RIYADH: The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is involved in a broad range of activities, both domestically and worldwide, to encourage international tourists from all over the world to visit Japan.
In 2013 the number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million. Within five years this number tripled, meaning that in 2018 Japan welcomed more than 31 million visitors. It amounted to a robust 8.7 percent increase year-on-year.
Last year JNTO identified the Middle East market as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences.
It participated at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in April 2019, conducting numerous tourism seminars for the region’s travel trade professionals.
The JNTO further strengthened its presence within the region by appointing AVIAREPS as its representative office, which regularly collaborates with regional airline partners to conduct joint consumer promotions, advertising campaigns and on-going marketing activities to generate greater awareness of Japan’s attractions.
Bilateral relationships in terms of tourism between Saudi Arabia and Japan have recently increased dramatically.
Thousands of Al-Hilal football supporters recently visited Japan for the AFC Champions League Final last November. The newly introduced Saudi tourist e-visa system is expected to result in greater numbers of Japanese visitors to Saudi Arabia.
Japan is an archipelago stretching from the north to the south for more than 3,000 km. Each prefecture and region is home to its own unique offerings ready to be discovered, including local culinary delicacies, crafts and festivals to name a few.
As such, the JNTO warmly encourages all visitors from the Middle East seeking a total Japan experience not to limit their visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, but to use the opportunity to also venture out to places like Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa.
Japan has so much to reveal to international guests throughout the year — in fact, each place should be visited at least four times. This is because each season provides its own unique charms and experiences due to the changing landscapes, events, cuisine and seasonal influences.
Japan’s offering as a travel destination is truly diverse and world class, with 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites providing exceptional traditional and culture-based experiences alongside modern pop-culture experiences such as manga and anime.
Japan was ranked fourth in the world in 2019 by the World Economic Forum for its travel and tourism competitiveness, ensuring that anyone looking for authentic travel experiences will not be disappointed.
Japanese cuisine, shopping, hot springs, sightseeing and theme parks are the principal attractions for leisure visitors. Accommodation options across its eight regions and 47 prefectures are broad, ranging from major five-star brands to “ryokans” (traditional Japanese-style inns).
In the Middle East the tourist office’s focus will be reaching out to and exciting leisure travelers to visit Japan, specifically families, young adults, those seeking wellness, luxury, authentic cultural and gourmet culinary experiences.
The official JNTO Arabic language website is due to be renewed and expanded this year, to ensure a plethora of relevant up-to-date information is made available to all, which will hopefully help each person to discover their own special Japan.
The JNTO is committed to furthering its activities and promotions in the Middle East so that an increasing number of people in the region can easily find out more about the unknown touristic treasures of Japan.
- Daisuke Kobayashi is a senior official of the Japan National Tourism Organization in the Middle East