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Published on : Tuesday, August 1, 2017
The Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), in collaboration with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), organized a seminar on INVEST JAPAN – Opportunities in travel and tourism sector on 23 June at Hotel Taj West End. The objective of the seminar was to provide a sector specific session on tourism and allied sector.
The Japanese government has rolled out various initiatives and tourism packages for attracting foreign companies to set up base in Japan in the wake of 2020 Olympics slated to be held at Tokyo.
The welcome note of the seminar was given by Junya Tashiro, Director General, JETRO Bangalore, followed by an address by Thyagu Valliappa, President, BCIC. The Guest of Honour was Takayuki Kitagawa, Consul-General, Consulate General of Japan in Bangalore. The keynote speech was delivered by Kazuya Nakajo, Chief Director General, JETRO New Delhi while there were presentations made by Japan National Tourism Organization’s Director General Kenichi Takano, as well as Jet Airways, Sonangi Travels and JETRO Bangalore. The Consul General spoke about the shared culture between India and Japan.
The visa regime has been simplified for Indian nationals applying to go to Japan. The validity of business visas has been extended from five to 10 years and the requirement to furnish bank statement by Indian students has been waived off.
Kenichi Takano said, “The JNTO was established in 1964 when the Tokyo Olympics were held, in order to help give information to tourists coming to Japan. From then on, JNTO has been focused on expanding Japan’s inbound tourism. Presently JNTO has 21 offices in 19 countries. JNTO in Delhi opened in March this year. This is the Year of India-Japan Friendly Exchanges. India is a very important market for us. The number of tourists visiting Japan has dramatically grown in 2012 and 20 million and 24 million tourists visited Japan in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Hence, JNTO’s budget has also increased accordingly.
The increasing interest in Japan could be attributed to seeing the Cherry Blossom Festival, savour Japan cuisine, governmental initiatives such as relaxation for visa requirements and expansion of tax free programmes as well as the increase in middle income groups in especially Asian countries. The main source markets are China, Korea and Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. 83% of the total tourists coming to Japan are from Asia. Unfortunately, Japan is receiving only 123,000 tourists from India. We need to increase tourists from India, USA and Europe.”
Kazuya Nakajo said, “Japan comes in Tier 3 level of preferred outbound destinations as compared to USA and Europe. There has to be a reason as to why Indians are travelling to far off countries like USA, Australia and the UK. The number of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) living overseas is more than the number of tourists from India. Also, the number of Indian tourists is proportional to the number of NRIs. America receives about 10 lakh tourists and NRIs are over 40 lakhs. Japan has lesser number of NRIs but they receive more tourists. NRIs are just 280,000 in Japan. In order to increase the number of tourists to Japan, I think we have to increase the number of NRIs in Japan. NRIs can greatly influence tourism. “