Business bookings expected on back of Japan Tourism Agency’s first familiarisation trip for meeting planners from US and Europe.
“I would definitely use Japan if a client asked me for an easily accessible Asian destination that is safe, well developed and modern; with warm hospitality, fascinating history and a unique culture”, commented Kim Hester of JNR (http://www.jnrcorp.com/) after her first visit to the country.
As for Kyoto: “What an amazing number of superb facilities you have in such a beautiful setting. A Buddhist temple and The Garden Oriental Kyoto would make excellent venues for evening functions”. Hester was a guest of Japan Tourism Agency in October 2010, part of the country’s marketing initiatives under the Japan MICE Year strategy.
Kyoto was one of three destinations introduced to meeting planners from North America and Europe and the investment has been rewarded with at least two decisions to pitch the destination to clients.
Joseph Kelley, sales manager at Hyatt Regency Kyoto says: “We feel that we will be lucky enough to win a booking from one of the involved agents very soon. More importantly, we think we have left a good impression with them and they will spread the word for us.”
The programme in Kyoto included:
Hands-on experience of traditional Japanese culture such as flower arranging and tea ceremony, which have their roots in the city
A close call with a posse of Samurai on-set at Japan’s leading period drama studios, where each participant honed their swordsmanship in front of a cheering audience of Kyoto suppliers
The oldest Zen temple in Japan
An 19th century artist’s studio and garden
A rare century-old merchant house
Modern hotels and conference facilities
James Kent of Kyoto Convention Bureau comments: “I am over the moon that Kyoto was so well received. We pulled out all the stops on the programme – after all it is not every day that the JTA brings such distinguished guests to our city – and these aspects seem to have sparked one or two ideas for potential business. The visit has also made me look at the destination in a whole new light myself… I had for example not properly understood how origami and calligraphy could be tailored to suit team-building programmes in the past but these meeting planners have shown me how.”
“The kindness and hospitality found in every aspect of life in Japan is a key reason that I have personally stayed here so long, and I am glad that it impresses hospitality professionals as well. I truly believe this is an aspect of value that cannot be understood without actually experiencing the city and I commend JTA for organising this Japan showcase.”
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