Research Commitee Report
Report of the Research Committee on
"Industry Measures to Enhance the Competitiveness of Japanese Tourism Industry"



What Japan should do to reinforce its tourism industry?

Executive Advisor, DENTSU,INC

First, it will outline what Japan has done to promote tourism and the global background of the reason why tourism is a hot industry in the world. Then, it will list the effects of innovation in tourism promotion, including the realization of an open society, the enhancement of international credibility, the further expansion of economic growth, and the resurgence of "made in Japan" brand image. Thirdly, the international competitiveness of Japanese tourism industry will be assessed quantitatively based on statistical analysis. Finally, it will identify various issues to be addressed for tourism promotion, drawn from the analysis of non-quantitative factors including the contents, infrastructure, and information dissemination on tourism.

On the basis of above consideration, the report will recommend a comprehensive measure package involving concrete proposals as stated below, in order to strengthen the competitiveness of Japanese tourism industry:
(1) Perception of tourism industry and the development of an integrated strategy
(2) Enhancement of Japan’s appeal as tourist destination
(3) Development of infrastructure to enhance Japan’s attractiveness
(4) Revitalization of Japanese tourism industry
(5) Progress in information dissemination
(6) Human resource development

Section 1
Competitiveness of Japanese tourism (attractiveness to lure more visitors)

Chapter 1 To strengthen competitiveness in tourism
Managing Director, Marketing, Japan Travel Bureau Foundation

In Japan the social role of tourism has not been properly assessed partly because the leisure industry was ranked low in the society. As expectation toward tourism promotion has been rising in various fields recent years, the value of tourism has increasingly been recognized. When it comes to tourism promotion, however, superficial phenomena such as movement of people and consumption tend to draw attention, directly leading to discussion on measures to increase the number of visitors under promotion driven effort. By identifying the fundamental meaning and social role of tourism, this paper looks at the meaning and significance of tourism promotion from the nation’s perspective and examines the direction as to how the competitiveness of tourism can be strengthened.
It also presents the relevant developments as follows: First, tourism behavior is defined as cultural behavior, and marketing based on this perception is essential to enhance the competitiveness in tourism. Second, since the meaning of travel and sightseeing in one’s life is changing with shift in social values, tourism has become closely associated with urban development and community building. As a result, tourism promotion has become synonymous with creation of a national land with amenities and beauty. In this regard, tourism industry is transforming itself from the ancillary industry to transportation in which tourists are just transported and lodged into the content industry placing emphasis on the contents that can excite and please people.

Chapter 2 Drawing more tourists in the new era---"Inter-regional competition and mechanism of movements"
Graduate School of Osaka City University, Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Associate Professor

Ability to draw more tourists in the new era represents aggregation of efforts by individual regions and cities to create more attractions for visitors. It is important for each region/city to show its will to present unconventional ideals of the city based on tourism. It is also essential to position tourism as a pillar of general urban policy. This chapter looks at the concept of "a city with power to draw more tourists." In this concept, the city attempts to break away from an industrial society dependent on manufacturing sector, position visitor industry in a broad sense as key industry, and integrate cultural tourism and brand-building. It also explains the significance of spontaneous self-sustained development of drawing power from the viewpoint of competition in East Asia. In conclusion, the four items below are listed as key perspectives to gain new drawing power.
  • Establishment of comprehensive urban policy and deregulation concerning tourism promotion
  • Progress in the Asian region from the perspective of intercity competition
  • Movements in tourism promotion
  • Focus on a community business based on drawing power

Chapter 3 Tourism in Japan: The Foreign Perspective
Hidenori Tanaka
Deputy Director, Project Produce Division, DENTSU INC.

The Japanese Tourism Advisory Council was established in January 2003 and the council submitted a tourism report in April of the same year.
The report contained the basic principles of an innovative policy for tourism in Japan, which raised expectations among various sectors. However, the country still lags behind the world in terms of basic measures specifically designed to promote tourism.
There is only one reason for that: a lack of "marketing." While business firms generally engage in marketing activities, Japan has failed to take basic actions. Marketing analysis for the project, marketing strategies, and marketing communications, are required to promote tourism as a national project.
Basic analysis and strategies have not been systematically put in place to identify, for example, what the charm of tourism in Japan is from the view point of a foreigner, why the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan is so small, how a "Japan brand" should be created for tourism, and what foreign visitors seek in Japan, etc. Also, products targeting foreign tourists have not been developed in a comprehensive and integrated manner. This has been dissatisfying for tourists, who are our customers.
This study report recommends a future strategy for tourism in Japan based on interviews conducted with experts and the use of foreign travel agencies, which could provide a "first contact point" for potential inbound tourists.

Section 2 Strategy to strengthen competitiveness (developing visitor attraction)

Chapter1 Strategy to transmit tourism information through reestablishing of national brand

Consultant, Research & Consulting Division, The Japan Research Institute, Limited

According to National Land and Transportation Ministry, the main reason why Japan ranks low in the world in terms of the number of foreign tourists is that it has not promoted good aspects and charms of the country abroad enthusiastically. Recently the ministry explains the need to develop a strategy to effectively transmit Japan brand to the world.
Establishing a brand in tourism differs from other products most in that a consensus has to be formed among people living there about the brand identity. Product value of tourism depends not only on tourist spots, but also largely on communication between residents who extend hospitality to visitors and tourists who express appreciation in response to the warm welcome. It is therefore necessary to make an effort so that people can resonate with a brand identity and extend a cordial welcome to tourists with hospitality, when considering inbound promotion at a national level.
In the case of defining a new brand identity of Japan, it is important, as a part of its strategy, to begin by removing negative images on Japan, establish a strong message as its identity that can never be duplicated by other countries, and send out the message not only abroad but also within the country.

Chapter 2 Life Style and Pop Culture ? Strategic Featuring Points of Tourism in Japan

Senior Advisor, Planning & Coordination Division, Planning Department for Regional Development, Development Bank of Japan

Most modern travelers on globe prefer tasting living life style and pop culture of local people, rather to touring remains of ancient civilization of past people. Tourism promotion in Japan thus must focus on featuring how contemporary Japanese live and what they uniquely enjoy. Japan’s multicultural variation of foods, flood of comics, animations, magazines and novels, young-women-oriented consumption environment of large cities fascinate foreingers more than Fujiyama and geishas do. Tour promoters should strategically recognize their unique charms, refine their interfaces for foreigners and appeal them to the world.
Outside Japan, however, contemporary Japanese life style and its unique attractiveness are one of the least known facts about the country. Mass media, especially that of Europe and US, pays so little time and efforts to introduce them. Japanimation films and game softwares that have been sweeping out the global market tell nothing about real life of ordinary Japanese.
Japan has to set a strategy to promote the export; not of materials but of its life style. Not only TV sets but also TV programs that show actual city life of Japanese young generations. Not only cell phones but also the life style with advanced handy internet system using cell phones. Why not holding more international conventions in Japan related to Japanese pop cultures, that invite thousand of enthusiastic fans scattered around Europe and US.
Post war Europe and US have kept their influence to the world not only by military power and manufacturing expertise, but largely by strategic promotion of cultural outflow. It’s about the time for Japan to do the similar; to enforce cultural outbound to promote tourist inbound.

Chapter 3 Regional marketing in the age of visitor attraction competition? regional strategy for "tourism oriented country"
Toru Azuma
Nihon University, College of Commerce,

The key strategy for building a prosperous region in the future will be to have the mutual exchange of people en masse, as it will determine the direction of regional development. In today’s world of competition over attracting visitors, it will be essential for regional development to upgrade visitor accommodation and to reinforce the regional marketing force, so to result in the vitalization of the region as a whole with the greater number of people lured to the region.
The purpose of the efforts to build a region of visitor attraction is to vitalize the region by providing opportunities for many people to socialize and communicate each other, and to build a region "pleasant to live and to visit," with visitors’ satisfaction and residents’ fulfillment mutually influencing each other favorably in an upward spiral. To build a region of visitor attraction, the regional marketing efforts aim not only to get the numerical number of visitors, but also to vitalize region as a whole through the development of a system to attain the residents’ fulfillment and visitors’ satisfaction at the same time. Such efforts can lead to the re-recognition of a way of a region through synergy effects in the market, and to the mutual efforts to renovate a region, with increased opportunities and prospects for the rediscovery and restoration of regional culture, community, and identity. Moreover, the efforts may open a gate for people to re-think the question of "whose town is this." Towns or regions are the very place of people’s "coexistence" where they share benefits, and the site of "joint creation" where people create their way of life.

Chapter 4 A study on the problems of cultural production and several suggestions from the viewpoint of ‘invention of tradition’.
Yokohama College of Commerce, Department of trade and tourism, Faculty of commerce, Associate professor

Touristic culture such as souvenir or dance show is often criticized by lots of researchers labeled it spurious culture, comparing with ‘traditional culture’. It can be pointed that ‘the North-South problems in tourism’ cause ‘the Cocacolaizacion’ and the commoditization of culture. Many case studies are referred ‘traditional culture’ changed to a show or disappeared because of guest’s curiosities peeping at the other’s ordinary lives.
Ogi-machi, Shirakawa-go is famous for its Gassho-style-house recorded as World Heritage by UNESCO in 1995, where welcome about 1,400,000 visitors per year now. But the increase of visitors as a fact brought lots of problems such as the lack of host’s privacy and refuse thrown away by guests. Tourists tend to despise uninhabited tourist facilities including open-air museum or cultural center. Concept of ‘model culture’ will play the important roll to exhibit or show the regional culture toward tourists, I give an example of Gassho-style-house’s museum.
It is important to present the regional culture that hosts and guests compromise each other from the standpoint of ‘invention of tradition(culture)’, preserving host’s cultural identity, at the same time satisfying guest’s interest.
Moreover interactive communication between hosts and guests, the participant of cultural expert who give the cultural comprehension to the tourism enterprise or the organization, mass media, will be needed.

Chapter 5 Creation of a society built on tourism and expectation toward "new ten-million program"

President & Coo, Japan Tourism Association

While 16 million Japanese people travel overseas each year, the number of international visitors to Japan remains only 5 million, which is significantly low. Under the circumstances, the Japanese government has set a goal of doubling the current figure of international visitors to 10 million by 2010. The main reason for the dramatic increase in the number of Japanese tourists abroad is economic growth in Japan. The boost in the number has little to do with the policy designed by foreign governments to attract more Japanese visitors, but has been achieved through the successful policy of expanding market for overseas travel which Japanese airlines and travel agencies adopted for commercial purposes in an attempt to exploit rise in the income level of Japanese. Overseas travel by Japanese was liberalized in the Olympic year of 1964. Taiwan and Korea followed suit in 1979 and the year after the 1989 Soul Olympics respectively, thereby pushing up the number of tourists from those countries to Japan, etc. China, the host of the 2008 Olympics, is also expected to steadily raise the number of Chinese visiting our country as long as its economy continues to grow. Compared with other western nations, Japan with the culture of Chinese characters has greater appeal to Chinese tourists. The number of tourists from mainland China is likely to show sharp rise simply by implementing measures such as area expansion of tourists’ visa issuance for group tours. Such measure should be implemented as quickly as possible even separately from security and labor issues. Support from foreign tourists cannot be assured unless Japanese people are willing to assess their own tourism resources in a strict manner. If Japan seeks to realize a country based on tourism, it will be vital to form a traveler-centered society with arranging power in travel market.

Section 3 Addressing individual issues

Chapter 1 Potential of Japanese style eco-tourism and the way to conduct business

Managing Director, Marketing, Japan Travel Bureau Foundation

Eco-tourism includes new perspectives that did not exist in the traditional Japanese tourism: to enjoy local nature and cultural environment while balancing conservation and exploitation, to integrate tourism with concept of contribution to local community, and to use a measure which enables a participant to experience by exciting the senses under the guidance of an interpreter, etc. According to market research, only 5% of those surveyed want to participate in eco-tourism very much, while over 30% are interested to try it at least once, indicating that the potential demand for eco-tourism is substantially high. In fact, the data provided by tour operators, which promote eco-tourism across Japan reveals that the number of participants in eco-tourism has been on the sharp rise since around 2000, and the number of tour operators specializing in eco-tourism has also been growing.
Regarding the development of eco-tourism in Japan going forward, a business focusing on Australian/Costa Rican-style nature experience is promising in places blessed with distinctive nature such as Hokkaido and Okinawa. On the other hand, Japanese style eco-tourism needs to be developed in a mountainous and surrounding agricultural area rich in nature but poor in unique features, so that charms of the local community including the culture deeply associated with nature and lifestyle of the farming village can be widely promoted. In any case, as long as one can acquire technique to develop a program for visitors to enjoy nature, it is possible to start small business in local area in a relatively easy way, and encourage local communities across the country to engage in eco-tourism.

Chapter 2 Visitor attraction strategy based on urban style theme parks ? The case of the Oriental Land Co., Ltd.
Director, Publicity Division, Oriental Land Co., Ltd.

This chapter will describe the facilities that constitute the Tokyo Disney Resort, present various data on the Resort attendance, and indicate how the Tokyo Disney Resort continues to attract visitors ever since the opening of the Tokyo Disney Land in 1983.
The steady increase in number of the Resort visitors certainly demonstrates the fundamental strength of its software called Disney, as well as the advantageous circumstances of site selection and the timing of its opening. In addition to these, the Oriental Land Co. has implemented various measures, such as: the repeater measure to offer new appeals and fresh entertainments to avoid boring repeated visitors. In order to maintain higher re-visit rate; the company created various "dream" spaces throughout the Resort area, so the visitors can realize their "dreams" in and out of the Resort as much as possible. Also, they have promoted the Resort as the "destination resort" rather than one of various sightseeing spots in the Metropolitan Tokyo area, and developed the favorable environment for the "destination resort" to increase the number of over-night visitors and the number of hours each visitor spends at the Resort.
Moreover, the company finds that, in order to fully respond to the expectation of repeaters, who make up the majority of the Resort visitors, it is essential to provide not only new and fresh facilities and convenience, but also high level services by experienced personnel or cast with the full spirit of hospitability.

Chapter 3 Revitalization of the Keihin Waterfront District - Strategy to use the tourism industry

Vice-chief, Policy Planning and PR Division Division, The Kawasaki Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Assistant Chief, Keihin Coastal Zone Revitalization Division, Planning Department,
Kanagawa Prefectural Government

The Keihin Waterfront District stretches from the Kawasaki City to Yokohama City as one of the most developed industrial areas of Japan. It used to be viewed as the potential site to house the "Tezuka Osamu World," which was the project envisaged around 1996. The first part of the chapter 3 explains about this project and its history. The latter part introduces various concrete measures to revitalize the once run-down Keihin Waterfront District, especially the measures of introducing industrial tourism and disseminating information. Finally, the chapter will indicate that the District needs to promote industrial tourism so to make the District the focal point of industrial tourism in Japan.

Section 4 Conclusion

Chapter 1 Incorporating tourism viewpoint into every industry


The key point in building a tourism oriented nation is for every industry, from agriculture, forestry, fishery, mining, manufacturing to retails and services, to develop and maintain the perception on how each will appear to outsiders, while keeping their pride and brilliance. Unless every industry perceives the viewpoint of outsiders, a mere effort to promote the tourism industry only will not bring a tourism-oriented nation.
In order to realize a true tourism-oriented nation with the aforementioned perception, it is necessary to enhance the attractiveness of Japan as a nation, and to raise the brand image of the nation. Secondly, it is important to adopt a strategy for disseminating such brand image of the nation. Third priority will be to encourage the eagerness to wholly welcome tourists who are to visit the nation in response to the perceived brand image of a nation, and to build sufficient system and infrastructure to accommodate such visitors. The chapter will review a way to proceed with the concrete and integrated measures for these three priority issues and discuss the issues involved.

Chapter 2 General Overview
Senior Managing Director, Editor in Chief, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, INC.

" A country built on tourism" has been a widely discussed topic. In order to achieve it, "sightseeing" or "tourism" should be considered from the perspective of nation-building in which Japan seeks to become a "truly mature society" with affluence and charm, extending beyond the viewpoint of businesses directly involved with tourism. And it is important to identify and establish value suitable for such a society. Also, domestic tourism by Japanese and international tourism promoted by foreigners should be discussed together rather than treated separately. The key to sustainable development of domestic and international tourism is to build a country/society which Japanese themselves can feel drawn to and proud of.
Japan has to realize the fact that it has continued to place excessive emphasis on efficiency and destroyed valuable tourism resources in an effort to overcome poverty and catch up. The country must be prepared to invest an immense amount of time in order to secure tourism resources and attempt to realize a country built on tourism. Otherwise, tourism campaign could end up with interregional zero-sum battle to lure customers, leading only to "one product per village" type of promotion.
As cornerstone of a long-term strategy for a country built on tourism, Japan as a whole must acquire its cultural charm and magnet to attract people. The charm cannot be born from standardization. The nation’s attractiveness can be created when regions rich in originality and diversity compete in winning their charms each other.