Routes Asia: Tourism organisation to boost Japan’s regional airports

A delegation led by Japan’s National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) plans to raise the profiles of Japan’s smaller regional airports.

Speaking at this week’s Route Asia event, which is taking place in Cebu, Philippines from 10-12 March, Yuri Nishiyama of JNTO’s global projects section said: “These airports have small budgets, so we want to promote them by bringing them under the JNTO umbrella.” Nishiyama added that the Japanese government is also “setting a target of 40 million visitors by 2020 and 60 million by 2040. Since the capacity at the major hubs is becoming full, the only way to meet the target is to bring tourists through these smaller airports.”

The JNTO booth at Routes Asia comprises representatives from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Takamatsu, Kagoshima, Shizuoka and Chitose airports. In addition, Okinawa, Tokyo-Narita, Sendai and Chubu have their own individual booths.

Without revealing specific city pairs, Nishiyama said Thailand is seeing enormous growth, with 1.1 million inbound visitors in 2018 and 14.7% growth year on year, followed by the Philippines of around 504,000 visitors, an18.8% increase year over year. There is also good traffic from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. She said JNTO has a special budget that is allocated to these six Southeast Asian markets for “aggressive marketing”.

JNTO Global Projects Section deputy manager Daisuke Kobayashi also noted that the region was seeing high demand for Japan’s Hokkaido region because of the snowy climate not found elsewhere in southeast Asia. He said Hokkaido was often second only to Tokyo in terms of traffic and can experience more traffic than Tokyo in certain markets and seasons.

Pictured: Asahikawa Airport in Hokkaido.

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