Strategies for increasing tourism

Regarding the story “Japan Tourism Agency aims to draw more Western tourists amid boom in Asian visitors” in the Feb. 7 edition, Japan has always been ranked high among Asian tourists, and in the not so distant past, among Western European and American tourists. That is before the rise of China and South Korea.

Pursuing a more balanced mix of tourists from source countries is the right way forward as it helps to hedge against a sudden downturn in any particular country due to volatility in foreign relations.

First and foremost, looking inwards to increase the English signage on roads and places of interest, enlarge the English-speaking service sector, step up publicity in English-medium social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are some possible strategies.

Reaching out to Western movie or music celebrities or key opinion leaders to promote Japan to their Western countries using their social media influence or blogs is another speedy way to reach a target audience.

To kick start the momentum, Japan might want to consider subsidizing budget airlines originating from Western countries or bundle affordable accommodation deals to different parts of Japan to reduce the total cost of traveling to Japan.

Finally, use traditional Japanese culture and modern attractions as the foundation for marketing to Western countries and leveraging the 2020 Tokyo Olympics wave of publicity to raise the perception of Japan in the eyes of foreign tourists. If this is executed well, Japan tourism could flourish for another decade.

EDWARD TAY
SINGAPORE

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.