MICE groups do not eschew Japan, still keen to visit

It’s all well in Sapporo (pictured) as the cities quickly recover from the recent space of natural disasters

Several Japanese convention and tourism bureaus that participated at last week’s IT&CM Asia have reported that there has been a minimal impact from the business events sector despite being on the receiving end of a typhoon (September 4) and earthquake (September 14).

Asako Shiomi, deputy manager, Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, told TTGmice: “We did not receive many cancellations from the business events groups, most simply rescheduled their visit.”

It’s all well in Sapporo (pictured) as it quickly recovers from the recent spate of natural disasters

For instance, one group from the Philippines was supposed to arrive on September 5 but they have rescheduled to the end of this month. There is another 100 pax group scheduled to visit in October.

Shiomi’s concern however, was regarding the bid for association meetings that usually took place years later.

“The event may take place four years later, but they have to make the decision now. This will need extra efforts from our side to convince organisers to choose our destination,” she shared.

Ayako Kurosawa, incentive coordinator, of Sapporo Convention Bureau, reinforced the fact that Sapporo is operating normally shortly after the earthquake which caused a city-wide blackout. Moreover, the bridge between the airport and downtown has also been repaired.

Kurosawa said: “There was a group of about 70 participants from Indonesia scheduled to arrive two days after the earthquake. We suggested to postpone, but they decided to cancel and chose another destination instead. However, another group from China of about 400 people, have decided to postpone the trip for a month.”

For Junichi Kito, senior manager business development, JTB Thailand, he said that the company lost a significant chunk of business due to the natural disasters.

He said: “Apart from the damage caused, the Kansai Airport was closed. Now that the airport is back in operation and is operating at 50 per cent, we are expecting business to pick up again.”

What the destination needs now, according to Kito, was support from the prefectures to keep on with the accurate updates and continue promoting their destinations to clients.

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