Japan still faces challenges in its long-running campaign to increase foreign arrivals and awareness of its potential to offer luxury travel experiences.
Participants in the first edition of Blossom Japan – an event taking place this week in Tokyo, showcasing the country’s exclusive products and services as well as offering a chance to tap into the lucrative but hard-to-penerate Japanese market – agreed there was much work to be done to meet expansion goals.
The government is aiming for 20 million visitors by the year 2020. In 2010, Japan attracted around eight million visitors, two million short of the project 10 million visitors quota.
Jay Martens, co-founder of Blossom, said Japan’s image as a pricey destination continued to stick, and it needed to send out the message that “it was now competitive”, with the popular hubs of London, Paris and New York.
Ichigo Umehara, president of The Capitol Hotel Tokyo, believed that tourism players had to do more to make the industry attractive to a young generation. He said not enough new blood was coming in to staff hotels and travel companies. Umehara’s 47-year-old property recently made its second debut late last year, after being completely rebuilt, a step he hoped would signify a rejuvenation in the local hospitality scene.
Martens, a veteran luxury travel show organiser, urged a re-think in the prevailing mindset to bring about more access and information about what was available for travellers both international and Japanese. He said: “Blossom Japan is our ground zero in this effort. We are creating a platform to bring together luxury travel buyers and unique lifestyle providers serving the Japanese high net worth individuals (HNWI).”
Japan remains one of the most significant markets for luxury providers seeking to attract high-end consumers. As the second largest economy in the world with a population of 126 million, it offers the highest numbers of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the Asia- Pacific region. Its baby boomer market is one of the wealthiest and largest consumer groups in the world.
For more details, visit www.blossomjapan.com
Margie T Logarta