On March 24, 2016, public and private sector actors, including the Kansai Economic Federation and the Union of Kansai Governments, established the Kansai International Tourism Organization.
Kansai has various tourism attractions that contribute to the significant increase of foreign tourists. In 2021, the World Masters Games will be held in Kansai for the first time in Asia. This event will be an excellent opportunity to focus the world's attention on the Kansai region. To maximize this opportunity, we should solve the problems in the cooperation between the public and private sectors in Kansai such that this region serves as the engine of Japan, a tourism-oriented country.
The newly established Kansai International Tourism Organization will serve as a promotional center for attracting foreign tourists and will be totally committed to its projects, such as calling worldwide attention to Kansai, enabling collaboration between the members to enhance their advantages, etc.
We appreciate your understanding and support for the Kansai International Tourism Organization.
March 24, 2016.
Kansai International Tourism Organization
Co-Chairman Toshizo Ido
Co-Chairman Shosuke Mori
Vice Chairman Keiji Yamada
Vice Chairman Kazuo Sumi
Tourism is a broad industry that is expected to result in a major economic ripple effect, which could lead to a revitalization of local communities, an increase of employment opportunities, etc. Promoting inbound tourism in close cooperation with the public and private sectors in Kansai is extremely important for the development of the economy and the promotion of the Kansai region. The national government has set “Realization of a Tourism-Oriented Country” as one of its most important growth strategies and eagerly publishes new policies to attract many more foreign tourists.
Foreigners who visited Japan in 2015 numbered about 19.73 million, which exceeded the record high and came just one step away from the target number, 20 million. The expenditures of foreign tourists reached 3 trillion and 477.1 billion yen, which contributed to raising the level of domestic consumption. However, the more foreign tourists visit Japan and Kansai, the more the challenges accompanying this booming inbound tourism are revealed, such as the shortage of hotels, the gap of the benefit between urban and rural areas, etc. Municipalities and relevant organizations are limited in their ability to address these challenges, because solutions require them to maintain a range of accommodation options, promote rural regions to foreign tourists, etc.
Kansai has an abundance of tourist resources, including history, culture, nature, entertainment, and food cultures. It also has an excellent infrastructure that includes a highly advanced transportation network and the Kansai International Airport, which has the largest number of LCC flights in Japan. Kansai has the potential to become a worldwide tourist destination site. Additionally, the World Masters Games, an international competition of lifelong sports, will be held in Kansai in 2021, following the Rugby World Cup 2019, and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. These events will offer an excellent opportunity to focus the world’s attention on Kansai and to increase the region’s name recognition. To maximize these opportunities, we should solve the problems in the cooperation between the public and private sectors in Kansai and overcome international competition.
With these ideas in mind, a preparatory committee of the Kansai International Tourism Promotion Headquarters (tentative name) was established in November 2015 as a platform to bring together related organizations in Kansai. The Union of Kansai Governments and the Kansai Economic Federation met in January this year to exchange views and agreed to establish the organization. The next month, the 54th Kansai Economic and Management Summit (Kansai Zaikai Seminar) was held, and it declared that the Kansai International Tourism Promotion Headquarters (tentative name) would be central to enhancing inbound tourism in Kansai.
As such, the Kansai International Tourism Organization was established as a center to promote Kansai worldwide and attract more foreign tourists. The organization also conducts business, such as a leading project to increase the appeal of the Kansai region, total coordination of international tourism promotion by the member organizations, enabling tight collaboration between the members to enhance their advantages, etc.
March 24, 2016.