Delegates get to enjoy skewered seafood at the renowned Kuromon Ichiba market.
TOKYO - Campaigns to attract visitors for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions are under way in more parts of Japan, with such MICE tours seen as opportunities to lure large groups of people to the country, accompanied by active spending.
According to a report by Jiji Press, the Japanese government is putting its support behind creative MICE-related tours as part of efforts to reach its target of increasing annual inbound tourists numbers to 40 million by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.
Examples of such successful tours are aplenty: In March, ahead of their conference, some 1,200 international delegates from the virtual reality technology sector enjoyed an unusual welcome reception at the most unlikely of places - Kuromon Ichiba, a renowned food market in Osaka.
The delegates mingled through ice-breakers while enjoying local specialties such as takoyaki (octopus balls) and kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meat, seafood and vegetables), as well as shopping for exquisite local souvenirs.
Event organisers revealed that they picked Kuromon Ichiba as they wanted to host a welcome reception at a location that epitomises Osaka. Store owners had taken a year to prepare for the event.
"The reception was extremely enjoyable," said Akio Kunimoto, secretary general of the cooperative of stores in Kuromon Ichiba. "I am happy that some of the participants said the reception was the best they had ever attended."