SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
India is one of the 15 focus markets for Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO). In 2011, JNTO has also established its presence in the Indian market by appointing a local representative here. In 2011, Japan received 59,354 visitors from India as against 66,819 visitors in 2010. “In 2012, we are targeting approximately 100,000 visitors from India. Due to devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, the total number of visitors to Japan got dropped to 6.2 millions reflecting a drop of 28 per cent. However, the Indian market was more robust and resilient when compared to our other focus markets with the negative growth of Indian visitor arrivals to Japan contained to just 11 per cent,” said Motonari Adachi, executive director- Singapore Office, JNTO, adding that the average spending by Indian visitors to Japan is 177,315 Yen which is the third highest spending followed by France (232,668 Yen) and Russia (223,052 Yen).
JNTO is optimistic about the rise in number of Indian visitors to Japan. In the past, majority of the Indian visitors to Japan were business travellers, the current strategy is to increase the market share of leisure travellers. “We are also focusing on building relationships with our travel trade and media partners in the Indian market,” stated Adachi, adding that JNTO is putting in place a sustained promotional campaign for Japan in India. Recently JNTO had launched the ‘I like Japan’ Facebook contest exclusively for Indian Facebook users. “This fan page is created to introduce Japan to potential visitors and share interesting travel tips and information on Japanese culture, food, history and popular visitor attractions,” said Adachi.
2012 is a landmark year due to the 60th anniversary celebrations of Japan-India diplomatic relationship. JNTO will be actively supporting both travel agents and media under various commemorative activities this year. “To commemorate the 60th anniversary of Japan–India diplomatic relations, we are planning to organise travel agent and media FAM trips, and organising seminars in the near future. Along side, we also plan on promoting latest developments such as Tokyo Sky Tree, theme parks and shopping destinations,” stated Adachi.
Visitors to Japan are attracted to natural scenery, historical and cultural sites, and urban sightseeing. Japanese food is also quite popular. “Most of the Japanese destinations in the Indian travellers’ agenda are included in Japan’s popular Golden Route. Tokyo is still the most popular and recently the Kanagawa area is also seeing a growth mainly because of an increase in visitors to Yokohama, Hakone, and Pacifico Yokohama convention hall,” stated Adachi. Other popular destinations include Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi (Nagoya), Chiba (TDR), Fukuoka and Hyogo (Kobe). “Mt Fuji as a symbol of Japan, the number of visitors to Yamanashi prefecture also see an increase in visitors from India. In addition, the historically-rich Hiroshima, known for the site of the atomic bomb landing, is also in top 10 ranking. We have also noticed a gradual increase in interest towards Okinawa – the southern-most island of Japan and Hokkaido – the most-northern island,” informed Adachi.