Keen to pump up its pipeline of new inbound business events, Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB) recently hosted its first two fam trips for meetings and incentive travel planners in three years.
Held from October 25 to 29, the fam trip welcomed some 20 international trade buyers who were split into two different tracks – one on Tokyo’s nature and wellness opportunities in Hachioji and Tachikawa, and the other on Tokyo’s waterfront developments in districts such as Shinagawa, Odaiba and Shiba Tokyo bay area.
The waterfront track featured some unique venues that were created for Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and are now available for event usage, such as Yumenoshima Park Archery Field and Canoe Slalom Centre.
TCVB will host two more in December.
Yuka Murata, representative of Business Events Tokyo, told TTGmice that the fam trips focus on nine MICE hubs across Tokyo, with the aim of introducing the events capabilities of the areas as well as new event ideas that have been developed there.
“There is more than just the familiar city centre of Tokyo for events. There is so much to do and experience across Tokyo,” said Murata.
“By educating planners on the versatility of the Tokyo Metropolis, we will not only inspire programmes to offer more variety but also encourage longer stays in the city and drive more tourism revenue deeper into the communities in the surrounding areas,” she added.
John Wee Tom, founder and managing director of Canada-based AreA, said the Hachioji and Tachikawa showcase had given him a new view of Tokyo even though he is familiar with the Japanese capital.
“It is quite a revelation for me. The selling point for both Hachioji and Tachikawa is their closeness to nature, which is something unexpected for visitors to Tokyo. Both areas are so accessible, and that has inspired me to consider using Tachikawa as the base for the main event and to plan activities around Hachioji,” he said.
Tom added: “The activities, such as rafting (in Okutama, which Tachikawa is an entry point) and dining at Ukai Toriyama in Hachioji, presented in the fam trip have incentive travel applications.”
Fioren Cahyadi, travel services manager with Destination Tour in Indonesia, who also participated in the same showcase, said the fam trip presented her with ideas for a more active programme.
“Indonesians are not used to walking long distances, but our hike up Mt Takao (in Hachioji) showed me that the activity can be quite comfortable in cooler weather, such as in autumn. The hike can be paired with the bonfire experience in Takaone Activity & Stay (an accommodation and cultural activity centre at the foot of Mt Takao) to satisfy clients’ need for unique and cultural experiences,” said Cahyadi.
In January 2023, TCVB will host fam trips with alliance cities, such as Okinawa, and Nagoya.
Murata said TCVB and the Tokyo business events community are well prepared for the return of events, while the destination’s delivery of the delayed games have demonstrated “our readiness to welcome large-scale events again, safely and securely”.
Going forward, TCVB will develop teambuilding programmes that satisfy Sustainable Development Goals.
Planners keen to take their events to the Tokyo Metropolis can qualify more easily for TCVB’s subvention programmes, as conditions have been adjusted to reflect current event needs and trends.
“Most post-lockdown event groups are smaller in size,” stated Murata.
Site visit support can now be obtained with just 500 visitor nights, down from 1,000 previously.
Tokyo’s Special Programs, which offer destination experiences perks, now cover smaller-scale events. Events with 70 visitor nights, down from 200 previously, can qualify for benefits such as an airport meet-and-greet, participant giveaways, VIP gifts, and a choice of entertainment activity.