The executive-director for the Japan National Tourism Organization’s Canadian office is well aware that his homeland is routinely at the leading edge of technology, with Japanese innovations being appreciated worldwide.
But Ken Toyoda is quick to add that Japan can easily accommodate those wanting to appreciate nature as well, which helps position it to make inroads in the MICE market.
“Japan has always been a premier destination for unique cultural experiences, where visitors can immerse themselves in local customs and specialities,” he says. “From hands-on sushi-making classes to receptions held in a World Heritage Site castle, the possibilities are endless. The pandemic has meant a shift away from busy city centres towards smaller group experiences and sustainable tourism is on the rise. More and more, we’re seeing an interest in outdoor activities that help visitors reconnect with nature.”
Toyoda says Omotenashi — Japanese hospitality — will permeate “every aspect of a visitor’s experience, from the meticulous hygiene and safety protocols keeping everyone safe to the unforgettable events and experiences only offered in Japan.”
Japan remains closed to international travellers right now because of the pandemic, with Toyoda stating safety is the country’s top priority, and the government is carefully considering when to ease restrictions. The latest travel advisory information is posted here), and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
“We are of course hoping that travel will resume soon and we know that many of you are too,” Toyoda says. “Once the borders reopen, we are confident that all forms of travel, including MICE, will resume and gradually recover to their pre-pandemic levels.”
Toyoda can point to recent positive developments, such Nagasaki gaining a new connection centre, with the Dejima Messe Convention Centre leaving him and his colleagues feeling “very excited.
“Service is as smooth and stress-free as possible. top priority in Japan and our facilities are world-class,” he continues. “Japan has hosted many large and complex conventions, and this can really be seen in the detailed level of coordination offered by our centres. Japan’s innovative technology goes hand in hand with our first-class service. Our infrastructure allows us to host large groups with the utmost efficiency and our systems are always improving to make the visitor experience as smooth and stress-free as possible. There is no better place for an industrial visit to learn about the latest developments.”
Japan found itself in the limelight this summer when Tokyo hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Toyoda adds the country has pursued increased investment in tourism attractions and infrastructure.
“With July’s addition of two new UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima, bringing the country’s total to 25, Japan cements its status as much more than just a metropolitan marvel,” he continues. “A slate of recent property openings headlined by the eco-friendly Treeful Treehouse Heritage Resort and the traditional tatami-style NIPPONIA Shirataka, spotlight the current growth in Japan’s tourism industry.”