LIVE AT WTTC JAPAN GLOBAL SUMMIT 2012
JAPAN: Where Now, Where Next?
Moderator: Kaori Enjoji
Speakers and panelists: Ken Okuda (senior vice minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism), Mutsutake Otsuka (vice chairman Host Committee ), Jesper Koll (head of Japanese Equity Research at JP Morgan), Masaru Onishi (Japan Airlines), Hiromi Tagawa (JTB Corp CEO), Miwako Date (Mori Trust Co. executive managing director), Ensan Yuen (EGL Tour), and Arthur de Haast (Jones Lang Lasalle Hotels chairman).
Ken Okuda: I believe you saw the people are not being daunted when you visited the devastated areas. The earthquake damaged the economy for a brief period of time. The rapid recovery demonstrates the resilience of the travel and tourism industry. it also shows how important this dynamic industry is. Domestic travelers are restored to normal level by summer and inbound travelers quickly returning to normal level. We've faced many challenges such as the decline in population, aging society, delayed transformation of the industrial structure, deflation since the mid-1990s, Great East Japan Earthquake, Nuclear power station accent, appreciating yen, and global financial market instability... Japan continues to be s safe travel destination just like before the earthquake and tsunami.
Mutsutake Otsuka: Tourism has a wide-ranging boundaries in terms of pushing growth. Right now 35.5 trillion yens is the current consumption of trail and tourism. The significance of tourism is not only in the area of economy, but it is is laos wide-ranging. There is the exchange in various cultures and it is possible for people to get to know each other. Tourism is part of the structure of peace. Tourism for each and every person leads to a more affluent lifestyle. The government has been pushing for tourism to become one of the pillars of the economy. As a result, there is now a public and private partnership. The Great East Japan Earthquake [of March 11, 2011] has had a profound impact and the industry is now being appreciated much more as a significant industry. People that live in those devastated areas appreciate those who visit their areas. Seeing tourists motivates those who have been affected by the tsunami. Japan is now fully on its trajectory to recovery.
Jesper Koll: Japan is not China. There is no easy growth here, but there are powerful growth here [in Japan.] I am optimistic why Japan is an enormous investment opportunity right now. The events of March 11, 2011 ripped Japan out of complacency. You have foreign capital buying intellectual properties. This country never stopped investing in the future. The precision engineering is what makes Japan so attractive for investors.
Masaru Onishi: We believe there will be dramatic growth. We'll be targeting 18 million inbound tourism by 2016. For us this is an appropriate target. Two key issues -- what is the repeat ratio of inbound visitors and what local areas are they visiting?
Hiromi Tagawa: The earthquake damaged the tourism industry and as a population, lower birthrate and aging society [are challenges]. Travel business and Internet can cause a mismatched in the products available. Japanese future and resources should be remodeled to create more demand for the future.
Arthur de Haast: 2006-2007 was a global phenomenon existed and we will not see that for a while. The decline between 2007 to 2009 has caused for a . We are starting to see foreign investment again from Hong Kong, but not as global as it had been before.
Miwako Date: We built a 180-meter building and on year later the tsunami came, so we were heavily impacted. We felt is was better to reconstruct our economy. There was a dramatic recovery. There are concerns about safety of Japan. We are in real estate business,but when it comes to architectural technology. The Japanese architecture is such as we protect the property as well as the contents in the building. The architectural technology is advanced and is very good for investment.
Ensan Yuen: When the earthquake we felt it was time to give back to Japan. We also felt that sending as many tourists to Japan means faster recovery.