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The 1st Japan Tourism Showcase in Osaka, Kansai

95.7% of visitors expressed increased desire to travel, a promising sign for tourism in Japan.

Sunday, March 27, 2022 saw the successful first holding of the Japan Tourism Showcase in Osaka, Kansai. In addition to officials from destinations across Japan, travel service providers representing the latest travel styles and trends gathered at INTEX Osaka in order to showcase their offerings and give new inspiration to travelers, with a total of 156 organizations exhibiting.

The travel styles on display included not just traditional tourism packages but also “workation” offerings, educational travel, micro-tourism ideas, travel tech, and many other tourism-related services. Over the course of the event’s three days, a total of 4,775 people came to the Japan Tourism Showcase and 585 business talks were scheduled between industry professionals, bringing about renewed interest, attention, and appeal to the travel industry.

The upcoming Golden Week holidays, summer vacation, and the autumn period are peak travel seasons in Japan, meaning that this exhibition was held at the perfect moment to reignite consumer demand for travel as well as to foster new connections for industry professionals. The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau (OCTB ) had their own station within the event’s Kansai booth, and also hosted seminars to foster discussion on key travel topics.

An exhibition to reignite demand for the travel industry 
Although the tourism industry has taken a serious blow amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook is bright with Japan’s vaccine rollout and popular stimulus programs from local governments across the country encouraging people to travel again. Although travel to and from Japan remains difficult, travel demand within Japan is expected to rapidly recover. Additionally, travel styles and needs have greatly shifted in response to the pandemic, with travelers expecting more diverse and enhanced solutions from across different industries.

With the 2025 World Expo opening in Osaka in only three years, the region will continue to develop as Japan’s new travel gateway. All of Osaka is striving for the area to become a showcase of Japanese tourism and to serve as a hub for sending travelers from around the world to see all of Japan. With this in mind, the Japan

Tourism Showcase in Osaka, Kansai was created as a joint initiative from government, economic, and travel- industry circles across Osaka and the Kansai region to become a catalyst for recovery in the tourism industry.

Opening Ceremony
Tourism Expo Japan, the largest annual event in the Japanese travel industry, was originally scheduled to be held at INTEX Osaka in November 2021 but was ultimately postponed. To meet the calls from the industry for such an event now that Japan’s pandemic situation has improved, the Japan Tourism Showcase was created as a companion to Tourism Expo Japan to serve as an instigator for the recovery of travel demand. The Japan Tourism Showcase was attended by many members of the media and attracted the attention of both travelers and industry professionals across Japan.

Kazuyuki Ochiai, President of the Japan Tourism Showcase Executive Committee and Executive Officer of Mynavi Corporation, gave the welcome address at the event’s opening ceremony. Speaking on the recent complete lifting of Japan’s domestic restrictions, Ochiai also discussed the public’s calls for the revival of Japan’s popular Go To Travel Campaign, which was suspended amid a resurgence in the pandemic in 2021. Ochiai stated that this event will invigorate Japan as a catalyst for and a beacon of recovery in the tourism industry and expressed desire for the event to be a source of discovery of new destinations and travel styles.

Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura then gave a special address to the audience with a video recording. Governor Yoshimura emphasized the importance of domestic travel in the recovery of the tourism industry and acknowledged the overwhelming demand for such a revival. Mentioning the upcoming 2025 World Expo in Osaka, Governor Yoshimura expressed his hope for the success of the Japan Tourism Showcase. At the conclusion of the ceremony, key figures from eight of the event’s supporting organizations came forward to together cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Exhibition booths with excited crowds
Within the venue, destinations from across Japan were on display to allure visitors with exciting travel ideas in their area. Kyoto showcased special sake and Abashiri, Hokkaido brought drift ice all the way from the northernmost part of Japan for visitors to touch. The dining area featured food trucks selling specialties from across the country otherwise rare to find outside of their home regions.

Seminars on travel topics
The Japan Tourism Showcase also featured a wide range of seminars and discussions on travel topics covering everything from the key to the vitalization, to the secrets to truly enjoying travel. Staff from the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau also hosted two seminars to contribute to the discussion.

On the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau’s initiatives: Hiroshi Mizohata, President, Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

The tourism industry has faced unprecedented struggles amid the pandemic, but with Japan’s successful vaccine rollout and new medicine being developed the outlook has grown even more promising and the desire to travel has grown. OCTB President Hiroshi Mizohata passionately explained the Bureau’s initiatives, including how they are strategically planning 2022 to be the turning point in the recovery of tourism, and how this year will see rapid advancement in the preparation for the upcoming 2025 World Expo in Osaka, Kansai.

LGBTQ Tourism in Osaka: Shintaro Koizumi, Tourism Advisor, Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau / CEO, Out Japan Co. Ltd.

The OCTB strives to make Osaka a diverse and welcoming destination for all visitors including LGBTQ travelers. Eri Kimura, LGBTQ Tourism Project Manager of the OCTB, opened by giving an overview of the OCTB’s goals and initiatives in LGBTQ Tourism, including strategies to bring the International LGBTQ Travel Association (IGLTA) Global Convention to Osaka in 2024. Shintaro Koizumi, Tourism Advisor for the Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, then gave an overview of why it is important to focus on the LGBTQ community and explained recent progress in LGBTQ tourism both in Japan and around the world.

New business connections made, and a perfectly timed push for new travel demand
The tourism industry as a whole contributes greatly to the regional economy because how it encompasses many different fields. Although the restrictions on international travel have been unavoidable, the pandemic proved to be a damper on the public’s appetite for even domestic travel. With this in mind, the Japan Tourism Showcase aimed to be a catalyst for the recovery of tourism, and with the recent complete lifting of all domestic restriction in Japan, the event can be considered a monumental turning point for the travel industry.

INTEX Osaka became the meeting place for 156 organizations from across Japan who received 4,775 visitors, and also saw a total of 585 business meetings both online and in-person with industry professionals. In addition to the new business opportunities yielded from these meetings, regular travelers were also able to get new information and inspiration on locales across Japan. In a survey conducted on visitors, 97.5% indicated their increased desire to travel and many expressed how helpful the event was in planning their next trip. The upcoming Golden Week holidays, summer vacation, and the autumn period are peak travel seasons in Japan, meaning that this event was held at the ideal time to spark travel demand among consumers.

Many visitors also declared their intent to attend next year’s event, and Osaka as a whole will strive to make sure that the Japan Tourism Showcase continues to be a valuable contribution to the tourism industry. 

The next Japan Tourism Showcase is planned for Friday, March 24- Sunday, March 26, 2023, at INTEX Osaka.

 

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Tatiana is the news co-ordinator for TravelDailyNews Media Network (traveldailynews.gr, traveldailynews.com and traveldailynews.asia). Her role includes to monitor the hundrends of news sources of TravelDailyNews Media Network and skim the most important according to our strategy. She holds a Bachelor degree in Communication & Mass Media from Panteion University of Political & Social Studies of Athens and she has been editor and editor-in-chief in various economic magazines and newspapers.

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