Tourism agency eyes global events

JIJI

The Japan Tourism Agency plans to help municipalities attract international conferences and other events that would draw large numbers of visitors from around the world, according to officials.

The agency believes that meetings, conventions, exhibitions and other international events will have substantial ripple effects on local economies and tourism industries, the officials said.

These events include corporate conferences, trips funded by companies to reward or train employees, general assemblies hosted by international and academic organizations, sporting and cultural shows, trade fairs and exhibitions.

In Asia, Japan has been hosting proportionally fewer international conferences and is continuing to lose ground to China, South Korea and Singapore.

By way of support, the agency intends to provide local governments with successful examples and assist them in developing the necessary human resources to host events of this kind.

Before extending assistance, however, it will conduct a survey of 52 cities designated by the agency as international convention and tourism locations, to gauge how well prepared they are to host international events and inquire about their efforts to attract them.

The agency will hold training seminars in Tokyo on Dec. 12, and in the Kansai region and Kyushu in January. It intends to invite not only senior employees but also top local government officials to help them better understand the significance of attracting such events.

The government stated its intention to step up efforts to attract global events in a basic plan aimed at turning Japan into a major tourist destination that was adopted by the Cabinet in March.