IATA has urged Japan to revamp its airport infrastructure for the 2020 Olympics and future tourism growth through collaborative thinking and extensive consultation with the industry.
Japan has set aggressive targets for attracting international tourist arrivals. Having welcomed around 24 million international tourists in 2016, the country now hopes to reach 40 million visitors in the 2020 Olympics year and 60 million visitors in 2030.
Kansai International Airport
“The Olympics are an important milestone and an impetus to get things done. But it must be part of a long-term joined-up planning process focused on the big prize of welcoming 60 million visitors to Japan annually – and keeping Japanese businesses and people efficiently linked to the world,” shared Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA stressed that infrastructure planning is key for the continued growth of tourism and welcomed the development of Tokyo-Haneda’s international network, the privatisation of Sendai and Osaka’s Kansai and Itami Airports, and continuous efforts to improve competitiveness by reducing costs and optimising infrastructure.
“Not that long ago Japanese airports were the most expensive in the world. They are not cheap today, but Kansai and Narita have dropped from among the 10 most expensive to 13th, and 23rd, respectively,” said de Juniac. “We are moving in the right direction and there is still more to be done – particularly at Haneda which is bucking the positive trend by raising charges.”
IATA also called for airports to be efficient and provide sufficient capacity to meet market demands. In preparation for this growth, IATA urged a comprehensive plan for the development of a more competitive Japanese air transport infrastructure in the areas of smart security, terminal efficiency, airspace efficiency, low cost terminals and coordination.