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This week’s featured article

JIJI

Japan came ninth on the World Economic Forum’s list of the most tourist-friendly countries for 2015, rising from 14th place in the previous 2013 rankings, the WEF said Wednesday.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan was second only to Australia, which ranked seventh worldwide in the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

“Japan’s human resources are highly qualified and excel in terms of treatment of customers, where Japan is ranked first globally,” the WEF said.

This suggested a high appraisal of the country’s so-called omotenashi tradition of hospitality. In addition, Japan was ranked second in the extent of staff training.

Japan’s success can also be “attributed to its rich cultural resources with unique cultural heritage and efficient ground and air transport infrastructure,” the WEF said.

It came first in terms of quality of railroad infrastructure, second in the number of oral and intangible cultural expressions, and fourth in the number of large sports stadiums. Japan has also built “impressive” information communication technology readiness, launching a paid wireless Internet service with access points across the country, “which is appreciated by visitors and supports the business operations of firms,” the WEF said.

“On a less positive note, Japan is not a price-competitive destination,” the WEF said. Japan came 82nd in ticket taxes and airport charges and 126th in fuel price levels.

Spain topped the overall rankings, followed by France and Germany. Of the top 10 countries, six were in Europe.”

First published in The Japan Times on May 8.

Warm up

One-minute chat about traveling.

Game

Collect words related to “tourist”; e.g., “hotel,” “airport,” “map.”

New words

1) excel: be superior at; e.g., “He excels at art.”

2) appraisal: judging the value of something; e.g., “We got an appraisal of our house.”

3) extent: range, area ; e.g., “The extent of the damage from the typhoon is not yet known.”

4) heritage: something handed down from one’s ancestors or the past; e.g., “There are 17 registered World Heritage Sites in Kyoto.”

5) intangible: not able to be perceived by touch; e.g., “Kindness is intangible.”

Guess the headline

Japan ranked _ _ _th most to_ _ _ _ _-fr_ _ _ _ _ _ nation

Questions

1) What is Japanese omotenashi, according to the article?

2) What are the negative points about tourism in Japan, according to the WEF?

3) Which country come out on top in this ranking for 2015?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you think Japan is a tourist-friendly nation?

2) Have you been treated with friendliness as a tourist when you have traveled?

3) What do you think Japan could do to become a more tourist-friendly nation?

Reference

東京オリンピックにも後押しされ、日本の観光業は一気に熱を帯びてきました。外国人観光客の誘致に政治も本腰を入れ、彼らの経済効果も非常に大きなものになっています。

海外からのゲストが日本を高く評価してくれたという事は非常に嬉しい事でもあり、同時にこの結果に恥じないように努力しなければいけないという示しでもあります。

高い評価を受けたポイントはさらなる向上を、評価が低かったポイント には対策を打ち出さなくてはいけません。物価基準を変えることはほぼ不可能でしょうが、それを補うサービスを加えることなどでカバーできるかもしれません。

もう一度来たい、と思われる日本になるためになにをするべきか、そこが明確になり近づいていくことができたら、日本はさらに旅行客にとって魅力的な旅先となることができるはずです。

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