Japan has just launched its largest ever promotional campaign aimed at encouraging visitors from Europe.
Coinciding with the World Travel Market in London, the Japanese embassy in the UK capital was the venue for the push, with is targeting 15 European countries.
Ryoichi Matsuyama, President of the Japan National Tourism Organisation, told Euronews: “When the Tokyo Olympics is held we are aiming for 40 million visitors and $80 billion US in spending. These are very challenging figures we are now working to achieve.”
Japan does have a reputation for being expensive.
But it need not be according to Alex Seigel, director of The Dragon Trip which is aimed at low-budget backpackers: “Our adventure leaders, our guides will take them to cheap restaurants but that are still really authentic. We give them a chance for activities that don’t break the bank but still offer a really good snapshot into Japanese culture.”
Japan’s latest ad campaign is based on surveys of travellers showing they go for the mix of “tradition” and “innovation”.
Which travel providers hope will boost the number of European visitors, who tend to favour China and other destinations in the region.
Akira Nakamura, All Nippon Airways’ Senior Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “So far, the number of European visitors to Japan is not so big, compared with China or South East Asia. But it is growing steadily, last year we enjoyed over 100,000 passengers.”
Identity and authenticity are key selling points in upcoming ad campaigns to promote Japan as the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic Games.
Euronews correspondent Sebastian Saam concluded: “Japan is keen to be known as more than a producer of technology. It also wants to become a bigger tourist destination, increasingly catering to all budgets. That plan seems to be working, with rising numbers of visitors. And Japan believes it can boost its tourism traffic through staging major international sporting events.”