Destination Resources and Key Events
The slogan “Where tradition meets the future” coined by JNTO (2016) is the perfect way to describe what Japan has to offer. Japan have excelled in keeping traditional cultures alive meanwhile still moving at a fast pace and being one of the most trend setting cities (See Japan, 2016). Also in the midst of this contrast is it impressively untouched and outstanding scenery (Lonely Planet, 2016).
The culture in Japan is unlike that seen in other countries, although having been influenced by other countries (mainly China (Hall et al, 2008)); they’ve ensured that their culture is unique (Lonely Planet, 2016). When tourists visit Japan they are interested in seeing traditional culture such as Sumo Wrestling, Geishas, Handicrafts and the Japanese cuisine (Boniface et al, 2016). As well as indulging in the more modern parts of their culture that boast new trends in technology and pop-culture (See Japan, 2016).
Japan has 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including cultural attractions such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Natural Attractions such as the Ogasawara Islands (UNESCO, 2016). The country also has 28 National Parks which tourists can visit but also where rural communities live and thrive (Boniface et al, 2016). Thus making sure their most precious places are protected and preserved for the future. Ultimately these attractions will be able to continue attracting tourists for many more years.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Constant instability geologically in Japan is something that detracts but also attracts tourists to visit. The majority of tourists would be deterred by the idea that the country is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes; however these natural disasters are what shaped the most beautiful natural attractions the country has to offer such as the hot springs and more famously Mount Fuji(Boniface et al, 2016).
Japan hosts many traditional and cultural events all around the country including; the Sapporo Snow Festival held in Hokkaido and Takigi O-Noh which is a traditional bonfire performance held in Kyoto. The events/festivals held come in all shapes and sizes some just a few hundred people get involved and others a few thousand, some in major cities like Kyoto or some in more remote areas such as Hokkaido. Many of the events revolve around the displaying of talented crafts or sports (JNTO, 2016).
Case Study- Japan 2020 Olympics
Japan won their bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics in 2013 and have since been preparing for the mega event. They want the Olympics to affect the country by getting more tourists to visit, a way they have begun trying to achieve this is by setting up relations with Visit Britain. The two tourist boards working together means they can share tourism information in order to help the industry grow, as well as increasing the publicity and overall image of the country. JNTO wants to encourage U.K. Visitors to travel to less well known destinations in the country (See Japan, 2014).
During the lead up to the 2020 Olympics the committee have been organising smaller events to encourage the involvement of local people and local organisations. One of these events was the Cultural Olympiad kick-off party which involved a formal presentation followed by lots of cultural performances (Tokyo 2020, 2016). In doing these events it provokes excitement for the games and creates a buzz around what is to come.
It is forecast that Japan will continue to grow in the amount of inbound tourists in the lead up to the games. However as the amount of visitors will rise to a much higher figure than Japan has experienced before it is likely that the country won’t be able to accommodate the amount of tourists unless they build more hotels or rejuvenate and add more rooms to current accommodation providers. It is predicted that Japan may have to invest 593.8 billion Yen into the hotel sector in order to do this (PR Newswire, 2016). Overall the Olympics will provide Japan with a lot of opportunity for change and improvement in tourism and events.
Overall Evaluation and Analysis
Japan has a wide variation of resources to offer. Within their cultural resources alone there is so much variety from shrines and temples to Manga and Anime (Boniface et al, 2016). The scenery in Japan is another strength that is used to promote the country; photographs of the beautiful landscape are used on tourism board websites and tour guide websites (JNTO and Lonely Planet, 2016). Japan has continued to enjoy political stability for a long time and this is something which is unlikely to change anytime soon (Boniface et al, 2016). The transport links around the country are very well developed and will continue to develop if the amount of visitors to the country does continue to grow.
Japan relies heavily on domestic tourism. Although we can see domestic tourism in Japan does bring with it some positives to the tourism industry such as the push for development of new destinations. If something were to happen such as an economic crisis it could mean less people in the country would be able to travel, therefore where businesses relied mostly on these visitors they would likely have to shut down. Overall it would lead to a decline in investment and growth of the tourism industry. One of the main problems Japan has suffered with is the over population in its large cities and consequently the increased pollution thereafter, this is something that is so developed it would be hard to fix (Boniface et al, 2016).
The biggest opportunity for Japan’s tourism is in the 2020 Summer Olympics, this event has the potential to rapidly change the tourism industry there and leave a lasting legacy for the country. All of Japans tourism organisations should see this potential and make the most out of the increased publicity and interest Japan will receive. Innovative technology is something we know Japan to be a leader of. As technology advances its uses in the tourism industry may become apparent and if Japan could capture this before anyone else it would set them apart in the industry.
The biggest continual threat to Japan is natural disasters. New technologies in the future might mean that Japan is more prepared for them. If tourists feel safe in the idea that they will be alright if a natural disaster occurs in Japan they are more likely to visit than those who don’t. Japan have an aging population meaning that many people in Japan don’t work so then aren’t bringing money into the country’s economy this has the potential to make the economy there unstable how they are thinking of intuitive ways in order to prevent this become a weakness to the economy, one of those ways being the introduction of Robots (Boniface et al, 2016).
Recommendations for the Client
Japan has all the resources and more to be able to cater for a large scale cultural event and has the ability to encourage visitors to explore the country as there is so much to see and do. It is bound to attract domestic tourists especially if there is some connection with western cultures and as more and more international tourists are interested in the country an event would just increase that. However some aspects of Japan may make potential tourists feel nervous such as the natural disasters and the knowledge of pollution in major cities. In order to combat this challenge the event could be held in a more rural area of Japan, as it is so well connected with transport it would be easy for visitors to get to almost anywhere in the country. Placing the event somewhere remote could also encourage visitors to explore some of the more untouched areas of Japan.
Japan has a very interesting tourism and events industry which has so much potential for growth due to the amount of natural and cultural resources as well as its well-established tourism infrastructure. Popularity of the country is increasing and if marketed well with using all of its opportunities, will continue to grow and attract tourists form different markets. Currently Japan is the place to watch in terms of how it will change and develop in the lead up to, during and after the 2020 Olympics.
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