For a greater tourist exchange
The reception of the third meeting of the India-Japan Tourism Council, held in Delhi recently, discussed challenges and measures to expand bilateral tourism exchange between the countries.
The reception of third meeting of the IndiaJapan Tourism Council, which concluded recently in the capital, was attended by several senior officials from the Indian and Japanese tourism industry. Speaking on the occasion, Suman
Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, says, “A lot of economic activities transpire between India and Japan but unfortunately that momentum has not been translated into the tourism space. If you look at the numbers, there are about three and a half lakh people travelling between India and Japan. In the last council meeting in Tokyo, we thought we must double the number in three years’ time, that is, take it up to seven lakhs. In this council meeting, we have worked further on this agenda. India and Japan have a shared action plan — ‘ Matching Action Plan’— which means, we would do a few activities to promote the Japanese visiting India and similarly the Japanese Tourism Organisation undertaking activities to promote Indians visiting Japan.” Talking about ways to upgrade the number, Billa says, “We must enhance the level of activities that we do like Fam working on new campaigns, etc to get the numbers growing. We also had an aviation round-table, in which we got all the airlines together, to sit down and talk about how we can enhance the connectivity between both the countries. Fortunately, ANA plans direct daily on Tokyo-Chennai route from October.”
Atoshi Seino, President, Japan National Tourism Organisation, considers India as a valuable market but also believes that the number of tourist arrivals from India to Japan is not enough. He says, “Currently, the number of travellers from India to Japan constitutes less than 1 per cent of the entire international travel we get in Japan. Considering India is such a huge country with 1.3 billion people, I think it’s not enough. in Delhi now is to get a fresh perspective for the kind of demand and travel needs that’s into what we are offering back in Japan.” Recently, a new tax has been implemented by Japan’s Parliament where all travellers leaving Japan will have to pay 1,000-yen ‘sayonara tax’. Seino says, “The tax costs around 1,000-yen which is less than $10. It is a tax that a traveller must pay before leaving Japan. This tax revenue will be utilised, making immigration smoother or getting new technology for facial recognition. We can also use it to improve the language capability on the ground so that foreign tourists can have a seamless experience in Japan.”
Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, MOT, thanked representatives of the Government of Japan and other stakeholders for their participation in the meeting.