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Singapore Airlines goes with Japan

Singapore Airlines and the Japan National Tourism Organization signed an agreement to boost tourism to the archipelago for the first time. Both SIA and the JNTO will capitalize on increasing popularity for Japan in Southeast Asia.

SINGAPORE- Singapore Airlines (SIA) and the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) have signed their first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at boosting tourist arrivals into Japan from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This is in line with SIA’s commitment to continue to develop air travel to Japan.

SIA started flying to Japan in 1968, beginning with Tokyo, and expanding to Osaka in 1972, Fukuoka in 1988, Nagoya in 1989 and  Tokyo-Haneda in 2010.

The Airline currently serves these destinations with 56 weekly flights and will add a third daily flight to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from 30 March 2014. This will bring to 63 the total number of weekly services to Japan, including five daily services to the Japanese capital.

While JNTO has worked with various SIA offices around the world on similar campaigns previously, this is the first time both parties have signed an overall MoU on an international level. Under the agreement, which is valued at approximately S$1 million, SIA and JNTO will jointly explore and implement activities to promote tourist traffic to Japan by way of SIA’s services between Singapore and Japan.

The two parties have agreed to commit funds to support advertising and promotional campaigns, as well as familiarisation programmes for trade and media, among other initiatives.

SIA’s Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing, Mr Chin Yau Seng, said: “Japan has been an important market for Singapore Airlines since we started operating flights there 45 years ago. We remain committed to further developing air travel to Japan over the long term. This agreement with JNTO underscores our confidence in the potential and allure of Japan as a prime tourist destination.

“We look forward to offering more customers the opportunity to discover Japan’s unique culture and heritage, as well as its world-renowned cuisine and the warmth and friendliness of its people.”

Japan National Tourism Organization’s Executive Vice President Mr Takashi Kato remarked: “Since the opening of JNTO Singapore’s office in 2006, Singapore has registered a 40% hike in visitor arrivals to Japan. The numbers have shown significant improvement along with the addition of flights to Haneda by Singapore Airlines in 2010. We are thankful for the consistent support Singapore Airlines has rendered to us, and we strongly believe that the MoU would bring about more Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia visitors to explore Japan.”

Japan is enjoying increasing popularity thanks to a series of favourable factors including the increase in total flights from Japan to Southeast Asia with more airlines plying routes; simplified visa regulations for most Southeast Asian countries -Thailand has been for example exempted from visa requirement since summer 2013 while Indonesia benefits automatically from multiple-entries visa; finally the decline in value for the Japanese Yen, down by 25% on average over 2012 was also a decisive factor. Japan expects to finish the year with over 10 million foreign travellers.

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