JNTO Singapore hosts incentive travel exhibitors from Japan

The one-day event at Raffles City Convention Centre showcased Japan’s lesser-known destinations.

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Exhibitors gearing up for the JNTO Incentive Travel Business Meeting. Photo Credit: JNTO

Japanese incentives are back in demand with the easing of immigration restrictions to Japan since last October. European and Asian markets are showing keen interest, and the JNTO Singapore office has supported groups which have exceeded 5,000 overnight stays for the period April to August 2023. This trend has been aided by the increase in flights between Haneda and Narita airports and Singapore.

Moving in tandem with this development, the JNTO Singapore office drew 22 exhibitors from Japan for its JNTO Incentive Travel Business Meeting at Raffles City Convention Centre on 31 August 2023.

Mayumi Yamamoto, senior director of JNTO Singapore, gave the event’s opening address. She said: “The Japan government announced a new plan to promote Japan as a tourism nation last March, aiming to promote sustainability and high-value-added travel and to focus on strengthening efforts to attract MICE. The JNTO Singapore office will also focus on MICE promotion, particularly in attracting incentive travel to Japan, while keeping in mind the overall policy of the government.”

Prefecture exhibitors comprised the following:

· Aichi-Nagoya MICE Promotion Council,

· Chiba Convention Bureau

· Fukui Prefectural Tourism Federation

· Kanazawa Convention Bureau

· Kochi Visitors & Convention Association

· MICE Promotion Council of Ibaraki

· Nara Prefecture

· Niigata Visitors & Convention Bureau

· Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau

· Suruga Marketing & Tourism Bureau

· Takamatsu Convention & Visitors Bureau

Echizen Ono Castle, Fukui: the prefecture is offering generous subsidies for international conventions.
Echizen Ono Castle, Fukui: the prefecture is offering generous subsidies for international conventions. Photo Credit: Echizen Ono Castle

Exhibitors including hotels and ground transportation companies, showcased their offerings with succinct presentations, many of whom offered subsidies, giveaways and cultural experiences. Among them was an international convention support subsidy of up to US$120,000 by Fukui Prefectural Tourism Federation. Fukui, famous for its Echizen Gani Crab, is 3 hours 20 min from Tokyo via Hokuriku Shinkansen (opening March 2024). Subsidy applications must be submitted by end-September of the year prior to the convention.

Ibaraki Prefecture is offering a bus tour subsidy programme of up to 1 million yen (US$6,840) per DMC operating a tour. Conditions include a visit of at least one tourist site and an overnight stay at a hotel /accommodation facility within the prefecture, and at least 10 participants from overseas. The bus tour subsidies are valid till 15 March 2024.

Some highlights of the exhibitors’ presentation:

· Oriental Hotels & Resorts - 21 properties in key cities across Japan depicting provincial culture for group sizes ranging from 20-500 pax

· JR-WEST HOTELS - direct access to over 60 hotels next to major JR stations

· The 207-room MARRIOTT NAGASAKI which opens in early 2024 will offer unique dining and meeting venues, including a 7th floor garden terrace. Offsite activities include kite flying, farm and fishery tours, stained glass making and handicrafts

· Aichi-Nagoya MICE Promotion Council - a hospitality programme that includes giveaways, Arimatsu-Narumi tie-dye workshop, Karakuri mechanical doll performance, and Samurai and Ninja performances

· Chiba Convention Bureau - sustainability activities such as ocean scrap art making, sustainable farming, and Nordic walking along the Tokyo Bay

· East Japan Railway Company – developing a new TAKANAWA GATEWAY CITY by Spring 2025 which will comprise a convention hall, hotel, offices and retail outlets.

· Nara Prefecture Tourism Bureau - deer gathering experience at Nara Park and a sustainability walking tour through Mt Kasuga Primeval Forest with an accredited guide

· Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau – for MICE events with 100 or more participants from outside Okinawa prefecture and overseas, the bureau will provide performing arts entertainment, and Ryukyuan costume and Awamori tasting experiences.

Besides a video presentation of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, attendees also enjoyed a networking lunch with sustainably sourced food from Raffles City Convention Centre’s in-house aquaponics farm. The event continued after lunch with eight business sessions to match buyers with exhibitors, concluding with lucky draw prizes.