Sendai campaign to boost Japan’s tourism profile

BUYERS at the recent IT&CMA and CTW tradeshow were cheered to hear plans for a Welcome to Sendai campaign to be launched between April to June 2013, saying it would generate awareness and interest in the northern prefecture and revive tourism to Japan in general.

Davao City-based Canaan2 Travel & Tours general manager, Mirasol Pasia-Uy, said: “A campaign such as this will also help to convince overseas tour operators that the destination is safe and it is worth visiting because of its unique offerings. If I am convinced, I will then be more likely to package Sendai as a day trip for incentive programmes to Japan.”

“The timing of the campaign is also perfect because April to June is the peak period for outbound travel and incentive trips, as it coincides with the school holidays. To capitalise on our outbound market, we have to get details of the programmes by January, latest.”

A collaboration between Sendai City, Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization, Japan Railways and inbound travel agents in the Tohoku region, Welcome to Sendai wants to tell travellers that it is business as usual in Sendai after the devastating East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011.

The campaign details are still being worked out and are expected to be ready by this year-end. Though the campaign is targeted at the global travel market, Asia is its core focus. (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 26)

Buyers said the campaign would heighten understanding of what Sendai and the Tohoku region had to offer, in contrast to other cities in Japan.

Hong Kong-based Pacific Link Travel & Tours director & general manager, Jacob Ng, said: “We don’t have much tourist information on Sendai and what it has to offer for meetings and incentives. It is important for the organisers to showcase the uniqueness of the destination – what are the attractions, special foods, cultural shows and activities and how these are different from popular destinations such as Tokyo and Osaka. When we have more information, we will be able to incorporate it into the itinerary.”

Said Pasia-Uy: “For our clients who are mostly medical doctors on incentive trips with their families, popular incentive destinations are Tokyo, Nagoya and Hokkaido.”

A longhaul buyer from Canada, Tourcan Vacations president, Vivek Khanna, said: “More awareness is needed to promote Japan, in general, to Canadians. Japan National Tourism Organization is not putting much marketing efforts to reach the consumers, whereas Tokyo and Osaka are hubs to reach other Asian destinations.”

He said Thailand, Hong Kong, Bali and Vietnam are growing destinations for outbound incentives from Canada, with a minimum stay of 10 days. However, there is no demand for Japan, as Canadians have no exposure to the destination.

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