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Hans Heijligers

Head of Japan
InterContinental Hotels Group
IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan

Date of birth: Sept. 10, 1959

Hometown: Amsterdam

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 4 (as of March 2018)

Hans Heijligers
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

I hit the ground running in April 2014 as regional general manager for western Japan and the InterContinental Osaka. I was overwhelmed by the warmth and kindness of the people. The last time I was in Japan was in 1966 when I lived here with my parents and brother for a period of two years. Much has changed, yet Japan excels in conserving its rich history and culture.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

My motto is, “Improve the life of everyone around you.” My background has always been in hospitality, where we learn that when you interact with someone, you make them feel comfortable and feel that this moment has meaning, from the guests in one of our hotels to investors in a business meeting to the people I meet day to day.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

As we work with our joint venture partner ANA to set the course for IHG’s continued growth in Japan, I am especially proud of developing our truly diverse workforce of experienced and engaged hospitality professionals. This allows us to contribute to Japan’s global competitiveness as a tourism destination while helping advance careers and raise the next generation of our industry.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My main goals are focus on our guests and prepare our people for big events in 2020 as inbound tourism grows. We are already looking further ahead. International hotel operators like us blend global standards with Japan’s charms such as hot springs. I want to bring IHG’s luxury lifestyle brands to Japan, such as Hotel Indigo and Kimpton, build our flagship luxury InterContinental brand and grow our midscale market presence.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Those of us coming to Japan should remain open-minded and enjoy learning new things about the country every day; this will make it easier to do business and enrich our lives. Everyone can also benefit from keeping abreast of overseas trends — what can Japan teach other countries, and what can other countries teach Japan?

Last updated: Oct 2, 2018