Japan to double arrivals from South-east Asia

JAPAN will roll out its Visit Japan campaign in new destinations in South-east Asia and engage government agencies in a bid to double South-east Asian inbound traffic to one million visitors next year.

To achieve this target, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) has requested a budget of 599 million yen (US$7.4 million). It expects to hit two million arrivals by 2016.

JTA director of international tourism promotion division, Shuichi Kameyama, said: “The South-east Asian market is showing significant growth after the (March 11) quake and UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) has projected that North-east and South-east Asia will be the international tourism markets where the world’s highest growth is (in the coming years).”

He also noted that the growth of arrivals from the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia was still low, because the Visit Japan campaign had not been launched in these markets.

Kameyama said Japan would capitalise on the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan Exchange to go all out with promotions for Visit Japan, engaging not only tourism-related government agencies but also diplomatic offices, the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan Foundation.

Existing initiatives to grow South-east Asian inbound include the facilitation of multiple-entry visas for Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian passport holders, and the opening of an office in Indonesia next year.

Japan expects South-east Asia to become one of its major markets, and will focus its efforts on wooing the leisure market before getting to work on luring incentives. Currently, foreign tourists come mainly from East Asia, which contributed 4.1 million, or 65 per cent, of the 6.2 million total arrivals to Japan last year.

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