Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) is involved in a broad range of activities both domestically and worldwide, to encourage international tourists from all over the world to visit Japan.
In 2013 the number of international visitors to Japan reached 10.3 million. Within 5 years this number was then tripled so that in 2018 Japan welcomed over 31 million international visitors, showing a robust 8.7 percent increase year-on-year.
Last year JNTO identified the Middle East market as an important emerging market for travelers seeking unique luxury experiences.
We participated at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in April 2019, conducting numerous tourism seminars for the region’s travel trade professionals.
We further strengthened our presence within the region by appointing AVIAREPS as our representative office, which regularly collaborates with regional airline partners to conduct joint consumer promotions, advertising campaigns and on-going marketing activities to generate greater awareness of Japan’s attractions.
Bi-lateral relationships in terms of tourism between Saudi Arabia and Japan has recently increased dramatically. Thousands of Al Hilal Football Club supporters recently visited Japan for the AFC Champions League Final last November (Congratulations on the win!). Additionally, the newly introduced Saudi tourist e-visa system is expected to result in an increased number of Japanese visitors to Saudi Arabia.
Japan is an archipelago stretching from the north to the south for more than 3,000 km. Each prefecture and region is home to its own unique offerings ready to be discovered, including local culinary delicacies, crafts and festivals to name a few.
As such, we encourage all visitors from the Middle East seeking a total Japan experience to not simply limit their visits to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto but, to use the opportunity to also venture out to places like Hokkaido, Tohoku, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa.
Japan has so much to reveal to international guests throughout the year, so much so that each place should be visited at least 4 times, as each season also provides its own unique charms and experiences due to the changing landscapes, events, cuisine and seasonal influences.
Japan’s offering as a travel destination is both truly diverse and world-class, with 18 UNESCO World Heritage sites providing exceptional tradition and culture-based experiences alongside modern pop-culture experiences including manga and anime.
Japan was ranked fourth in the world in 2019 by the World Economic Forum for its travel and tourism competitiveness, ensuring that anyone looking for authentic travel experiences will not be disappointed.
Japanese cuisine, shopping, hot springs, sightseeing and theme parks are the principal attractions for leisure visitors – and accommodation options across its eight regions and 47 prefectures are broad, ranging from major five-star brands to ‘ryokans’ (traditional Japanese-style inns). From the Middle East our focus will be reaching out to exciting leisure travelers to visit Japan, specifically families, young adults, those seeking wellness, luxury, unique and authentic cultural experiences, as well as those seeking gourmet culinary experiences.
We are planning to renew and expand the JNTO official Arabic language website this year, to ensure a plethora of relevant up-to-date information is made available to all, that will hopefully assist each person to discover their own unique Japan.
JNTO is committed to furthering our activities and promotions in the Middle East so that an increasing number of people in the Middle East can easily find out more about the unknown touristic treasures of Japan.
Daisuke Kobayashi is Officer-In-Charge, Middle East, Global Projects Section, Global Projects Department, Japan National Tourism Organization.