National

JTB, Panasonic, Yamato eye paperless luggage transport service for tourists

Kyodo

JTB Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Yamato Holdings Co. said Wednesday they are joining forces on a cloud-based service that will give tourists the option of exploring Japan without carrying their luggage around.

Starting in March, arriving travelers will be able to have their luggage delivered by Yamato to hotels and airports without filling out the usual delivery slips if they have already offered their precise travel itinerary details for conversion into barcodes.

The platform developed by JTB and Panasonic can then read the barcodes via tablet computer to deliver the luggage from place to place.

To use the “luggage-free travel” service, foreign tourists need to register their travel information and apply for it beforehand via travel agency JTB’s reservation management system to get the unique barcodes.

An increasing number of companies are trying to capitalize on the tourism boom as the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to get 40 million visitors a year visiting Japan by 2020.

After conducting trial tests from this month through October at Tokyo’s Haneda airport and hotels in Tokyo, the three companies plan to launch it by the end of March.

JTB and Panasonic also plan to launch a multilingual concierge service that uses a tablet computer and provides information on tourist destinations, hotels, and travel routes. Following its scheduled launch by the end of fiscal 2016, the two companies aim to have it available at 5,000 locations across Japan by 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics.

Panasonic Executive Officer Masahiro Ido expressed hope that the combination of information and communication technology with tourism can boost satisfaction for foreign tourists.

“We hope to encourage tourists to visit not just Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto but other regional areas as well,” Ido said at a press conference.