Japan ranks highly on incentive destinations for Malaysian companies

An incentive group from Malaysia at Mount Fuji. Photo credit: Feel Japan with K's Facebook page

Outbound Malaysian agents big on incentives to Japan have seen a year-on-year increase in incentive groups, citing support from Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and the overall attractiveness of the destination as key draws.

Rosli Seth, managing director of Malaysia-based Feel Japan With K, said his company has seen a 20 per cent increase year-on-year in incentive business, and average group sizes numbered between 70 to 100 delegates. These bookings mainly came from banking, insurance and direct selling companies.

An incentive group from Malaysia in Japan. Photo credit: Feel Japan with K’s Facebook page

He shared: “Support from JNTO at the bidding stage, which includes sourcing for unique venues and connecting with local CVBs, makes it easy for event planning. In turn, subvention (financial and non-financial) support from local CVBs help to bring the costs down and make the destination more attractive.”

Rosli was among the 45 Malaysian agents and 16 Japanese exhibitors at JNTO’s Japan incentive travel seminar in Kuala Lumpur on July 17. The annual roadshow is part of JNTO’s in-market activities in South-east Asia. It will head to Bangkok on July 18, and Singapore and Indonesia in October.

Meanwhile, first-time Japanese exhibitor, Junichi Kawase, CEO of Thanyaporn Japan Tours, pointed out that Central Japan was largely unexplored by Malaysian incentive travellers as there are no direct flights, ever since AirAsia X suspended services to Nagoya in mid-February 2015.

Kawase pointed out that the area should not be missed, and activities in the region included walking on the giant Snow Wall at the Norikura Skyline road and hiking at Mt Norikura.

According to JNTO statistics, Malaysia is the second largest inbound market from South-east Asia after Thailand. Last year, arrivals from Malaysia totalled 439,500, an 11.5 per cent increase over 2016. For incentive travel, JNTO recorded 65,000 visitors from Malaysia last year. Popular incentive destinations for Malaysians were Kanto (28 per cent), Hokkaido (25 per cent), Kansai (23 per cent), Chubu (11 per cent), Okinawa (seven per cent), Kyushu (five per cent) and Shikoku (one per cent). Average group sizes were between 10 to 50 people.

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