Kyoto launches campaign to attract high-end

THE KYOTO City Industry and Tourism Bureau has launched a campaign to position the former imperial capital of Japan as one of Asia’s premier luxury travel destinations.

The US and Europe are Kyoto’s leading source markets for luxury travellers. The bureau hopes to grow luxury arrivals from Asia-Pacific, where travellers do not yet recognise Kyoto as a high-end destination.

Hiroaki Kakinuma, director of the tourism promotion division of Kyoto’s Industry and Tourism Bureau, said: “We will enlighten the local tour operators on the financial benefits of targeting the luxury travel segment.”

Besides organising a fam trip for 20 VIP buyers prior to the start of International Luxury Travel Market Asia in Shanghai, the bureau is also holding a series of fam trips throughout the year for leisure travel agency network Virtuoso’s member agencies and the media.

“Hosting familiarisation trips for overseas agents will pull demand into Kyoto. We are also creating sample itineraries suitable for high-end travellers for tour operators’ reference,” said Kakinuma.

Kakinuma admitted that at the moment, there were not many tour operators in Kyoto that specialise in serving the luxury market.

He added: “Travellers have said that Kyoto lacks five-star properties—that will no longer be the case. The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons will open in 2014, and more (five-star hotels) will come up in the near future.”

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