Japan seeks ME tourist dollars

Mount Fuji

A destination that’s finally woken up to the Middle East’s potential as a source market is Japan.

The country made a debut appearance at this year’s ATM in a bid to attract Middle Eastern tourists, even as regional airlines launch new routes to the country: this month, Emirates begins services to Nagoya, and Saudi Arabian Airlines flies into Osaka.
“We’re aiming to change current regional perceptions of Japan solely as a business destination with our participation,” said Kenichi Sawaguchi, senior director, Planning & Projects, Japan Co-Operation Centre for the Middle East, which organised the pavilion. “We came to showcase the many varied aspects of Japan as a superior holiday destination for Middle Eastern travelers – from skiing on the pristine slopes of Nagano, speeding through the countryside on the ‘Shinkansen’ (bullet trains), to becoming immersed in ancient Japanese traditions in the old imperial cities of Kyoto and Osaka.”
JCCME has strategically partnered with the Japan National Tourist Organisation and the Japan External Trade Organisation to target Middle Eastern customers. It has also tied up with the Nippon Travel Agency, Nikko Hotels International and the Conrad Tokyo.
With a traditional culture nurtured in some 2,000 years of unbroken civilization, Japan’s temples, shrines and castle towns are among its most seductive draws – as are its unbroken lines of high-value boutiques.