Kanazawa on Japan's central Honshu Island has started its convention bureau in 1985, but it was only three years ago that the bureau started looking outside the country.
Kanazawa on Japan’s central Honshu Island has started its convention bureau in 1985, but it was only three years ago that the bureau started looking outside the country.
Maki Hashizume, assistant manager, Kanazawa Convention Bureau, told TTGmice: “Previously, we were not active in promoting the city internationally, and primarily dealt with a domestic market. But now we realise the importance of the international market.”
It comes as no coincidence then that this is the first time the convention bureau is attending Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart 2017, in order to obtain contacts from international markets.
But while the city is more apt for middle-size events – thanks to a number of music halls that can hold up to 1,500 pax each, and a convention centre that can hold up to 800 pax in its largest hall – Kanazawa welcomed its largest ever medical conference earlier in March.
Hashizume elaborated: “There were 15,000 people, and they used up all the hotels and the facilities that we had. The city was stretched to the limit, but the doctors really wanted to hold it in Kanazawa.”
She added that Kanazawa’s international meetings and incentives market is only 10 per cent, and groups primarily hail from Seoul, Shanghai and Taiwan, as the Komatsu Airport has direct flights from these three places.
When asked which markets the convention bureau were targeting at the moment, Hashizume shared: “We are targeting the South-east Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. Recently, we went to an incentive seminar in Thailand, and also (made a sales call) to Singapore in July.”
However, she has her work cut out for her, and lamented that “Kanazawa is not very well-known to the South-east Asian market”.
As a result, she pointed out that the convention bureau “does not have a target number or percentage at this point”, and is going through the process of education to spread the word about the destination first.