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Hotel operator Fujita Kanko looking to bring in more non-Japanese

Kyodo

Major hotelier Fujita Kanko Inc. is accelerating its global promotion, especially in other parts of Asia, to raise its profile overseas and attract more foreign guests.

“Economic growth in many Asian countries and eased (tourist) visa procedures have broadened the choice of hotels and destinations. We’ll be making more efforts to enter this growing market,” Fukuyoshi Kikunaga, managing director of Fujita Kanko, said in a recent interview.

The company is aiming to profit from the growing number of foreign travelers to Japan, according to Kikunaga. The number of foreign tourist arrivals in February reached a record high for the month at around 730,000, up 33.1 percent year on year, thanks to the depreciation of the yen, the Japan National Tourism Organization reported earlier.

“To allow tourists to choose our hotels, they need to know us,” Kikunaga, who was in charge of Fujita Kanko’s global business group until this month, said in reference to overseas offices opened by the company.

He said that as travelers are now able to choose from thousands of hotels on travel websites rather than selecting from options offered by travel agents, the company needs to raise its overseas profile.

With most foreign guests at Fujita Kanko’s nationwide hotels arriving from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the company has opened four overseas offices over the past three years, in Shanghai, Seoul, Taipei and Singapore.

Through these overseas offices, the company is highlighting the range of accommodations it offers, including 30 business hotels operated under the Gracery and Washington brands, and the luxury Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo.

In the longer term, Fujita Kanko also hopes to offer its wedding business and other hotel-related services overseas, Kikunaga added.

The Tokyo-based innkeeper further plans to attract guests from a wider variety of countries, as the number of Chinese group arrivals has declined since the territorial row over the Senkakus was rekindled last September.