Ja­pan eyes piece of In­dian pie

After open­ing the doors of its In­dian of­fice in New Delhi, JNTO is gear­ing up to draw more In­dian tourists to the coun­try and plans to add an­other of­fice in Mum­bai.

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Ja­pan Na­tional Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (JNTO) opened its of­fice in In­dia last year in an at­tempt to tap the coun­try’s boom­ing out­bound seg­ment. With its pres­ence in New Delhi, the NTO would now like to ex­tend its ser­vices to Mum­bai, in­forms Kenichi Takano, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor – Delhi Of­fice, JNTO.

Ja­pan has wit­nessed a steady growth in the num­ber of In­dian tourists, he says, and the idea is to keep adding to the num­bers. He adds, “We re­ceived around 123,000 In­dian tourists in 2016 as com­pared to the year be­fore, and growth of about 20 per cent was wit­nessed. Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka are some of the pop­u­lar places in Ja­pan In­di­ans have been vis­it­ing.”

Apart from Mum­bai and New Delhi, JNTO is also eye­ing cities like Chennai, Ban­ga­lore and Kolkata as po­ten­tial source mar­kets for tourists.

The Ja­panese cap­i­tal, Tokyo, is a nat­u­ral pit­stop for most trav­ellers and about 60 per cent of In­dian tourists trav­el­ling there are mainly for busi­ness pur­poses, in­forms Takano. “How­ever, we are targeting families, hon­ey­moon­ers and busi­ness trav­ellers as Ja­pan’s tourism prod­ucts are ex­tremely di­verse,” he com­ments. “We have theme parks like Dis­ney­land and Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios for families, on­sens or nat­u­ral hot springs for well­ness lovers, his­tory and cul­ture, and breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral prod­ucts like the world-renowned Mt Fuji.” He states that In­di­ans usu­ally visit Ja­pan for about two weeks and there is a ris­ing in­ter­est for Hokkaido to ex­pe­ri­ence the sakura sea­son, which oc­curs be­tween spring and sum­mer.

While JNTO has been pro­mot­ing the des­ti­na­tion ex­ten­sively through print and elec­tronic me­dia, brand­ing in malls and air­ports and B2B sem­i­nars in Mum­bai and New Delhi, they plan to etch the des­ti­na­tion in In­di­ans’ minds through the most pop­u­lar and preva­lent medium – Bol­ly­wood. A re­make of the 60’s block­buster movie, Love in Tokyo, the film will partly be shot in Ja­pan, and Takano hopes this will be in­stru­men­tal in cap­tur­ing the at­ten­tion of the In­dian trav­ellers.

Takano high­lights the min­i­mal pres­ence of In­di­ans in other sec­tors as well and says, “Ja­pan doesn’t have too many In­di­ans work­ing there or even stu­dents, so we are try­ing to change this. We are es­pe­cially try­ing to in­vite In­dian ho­tel brands to set up prop­er­ties there so that this fac­tor can ap­peal to the In­dian mar­ket.”

Apart from Mum­bai and New Delhi, JNTO is also eye­ing cities like Chennai, Ban­ga­lore and Kolkata as po­ten­tial source mar­kets for tourists

Kenichi Takano JNTO

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