Provisional Translation

Outline of the Report (main text) by the Japan Tourism Advisory Council

I Significance of a Country Built on Tourism - Why Should We Aim for This Now?|

1. A Changing World

(1) Great Exchange Promoted by Globalization - Ever Smaller World Making it Possible to Bring People Even Closer Together -

The world is undergoing great changes with the steady advance of globalization. We are now in an age of great exchange where not only goods, money, technology and information, but also people themselves are moving around the entire globe. In this situation, the people of the world are seeking to discover new values in international tourism and are now not merely seeking to visit tourist spots to enjoy tourist resources, but to meet and come into closer, friendlier contact with the people of the world. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international tourist arrivals are expected to reach one billion by 2010 and 1.6 billion by 2020.

(2) Japan is Lagging in Great Exchange - Toward the Country Open up to the World

Japan has not yet become a country that is sufficiently open to the world in terms of the situation concerning acceptance of foreign tourists as well as domestic foreign direct investment in Japan. If Japan were to contribute to the advance of globalization and thereby enjoy the benefits of "great exchange", what is of prime importance is for Japan to become a country that is truly open to the world.

(3) Enhanced Role of Cultural Exchange - Cultural Security and the Fulfillment of "Soft Power"

In an age of great exchange, cultural exchange among people is something that contributes greatly to world security. In addition, Japan would demonstrate an independent presence to the world and could contribute to the advance of globalization if efforts were made for cultural exchange, while seeking to enhance its "soft power" through promoting Japan as a country built on tourism.

(4) From Quantity to Quality - Changing Growth Patterns: The Human-centered era

In an environment in which we are moving from an economics-centered era to a human-centered era, a county built on tourism would, in addition to responding to such new growth patterns, open its doors to the world and play a significant role in heightening the interest of the people in improving Japan's cultural charm.

(5) Changes in Tourism in Japan

The typical tourist travel pattern to date has been the package tour, whereby tourists are taken around famous tourist sights. However, participatory or experience-focused tour has recently come to be noticed in response to changing tourism needs.

(6) Developing Tourism - Large Reforming Effect of Tourism

Tourism heightens national strength and is a powerful means to transmit a country's culture to the world, providing an opportunity to reform domestic systems. At the same time, tourism is linked to fundamental stimulus of the economy, to improvements in education and heightening the international awareness of the people. It is not an exaggeration to say that tourism offers a powerful means of carving a path through to a national or regional future.

2. Tourism Revolution - Enhancing Cultural Magnetism

(1) "Seeing and showing the Highlights*" of a Country - Origins of Tourism

The origins of tourism lie not only in merely "seeing the highlights" of famous spots or landscapes, but in "showing the highlights" of a country or region. Such highlights can be best shown in the pride that people living in a region may feel about the area in which they live, and in the happiness they feel. It is necessary to revisit the origins of tourism, in short, to reform the concept of "tourism" of Japan.

* The Japanese translation of "tourism" is Kanko, where "kan" means "to see" in general, and "ko" means "light."

(2) Tourism Encourages Nation-building that Provides a Good Living Habitat and a Good Place to Visit

The basic concept for a country built on tourism is the realization of "nation-building that provides a good living habitat and a good place to visit" whereby the people living in the region can have a stronger recognition of its "highlights" and the people visiting the region can also feel the "highlights" even more strongly. To this end, a tourism revolution is called for (one that revitalizes cultural charm, re-polishes the "highlights" and recreates a journey that is sound for the mind and soul).

(3) Restructuring a National Design to Enhance Comprehensive Charm

The significance of tourism is closely linked to an overall exhibition of modern charm, including charm in the areas of politics, economy, lifestyle and culture. The society that Japan should strive to create in the 21st century is the one that possesses dynamic economic power. It should also be a society in which each individual with enhanced autonomy respects each and every person regardless of nationality, the one in which culture and revolutionary vitality and diversity are promoted, and the one in which nature and the environment are cherished and closely interact with the international community. Such traits represent a national design in which a concept of a country built on industry, information, culture and the environment are organically developed to enhance charm in respective areas to realize a country based on tourism.

(4) Improving Cultural Magnetism

In the 21st century, Japan must exercise its soft power, based on its cultural charm, knowledge, intelligence and information gathering and transmitting abilities, to gain greater trust of foreign countries, by promoting as a challenge to the nation the enhancement of the magnetism of Japan that attracts people and companies both at home and abroad.

(5) Tourism Revolution and a Path for Japan in the 21st Century

By promoting the tourism revolution, Japanese society will be revitalized as Japan's "highlights" will be widespread across the nation in each separate region. There is value in Japan pursuing to be a country in the 21st century where people from abroad would want to visit, study, work and live as a "country open to the world".

II Challenges and Strategies for Realizing a Country Built on Tourism - Polishing the Japan Brand

1. Comprehensive Strategic Development toward a Country Built on Tourism - Nation-building that Provides a Good Living Habitat and a Good Place to Visit -

The 21st century is the one in which all countries are competing for the stakes of "charm" . While approximately 16 million Japanese travel overseas each year, the number of international visitors to Japan stays only around 5 million, which is significantly imbalanced. In order to double the current figure of international visitors by 2010, it is necessary for Japan as a whole, including the Government, to exert all efforts towards this goal. Therefore, the following measures should be implemented:

* Comprehensively establishing a strategy toward a country built on tourism

- "Know oneself" : Analyze and recognize Japan's own charms, so that Japanese themselves learn to love the land on which they live and have pride in their society
- "Learn from other people" : Minutely examine the experiences of successful countries
- Toward "nation-building that provides a good living habitat and a good place to visit"

* Developing a system whereby ministries and agencies concerned, including the Cabinet Secretariat, make concerted efforts under the initiative of the Government. An organic system should also be developed with the participation of the regions, whereby private and public sectors work in cooperation, and overseas establishments and overseas institutions concerned also cooperate with one another.

* It is of importance that all Japanese offer a "warm welcome" to international visitors.

2. Establishing National Charm

(1) What are the Nation's "Charm Points"?

The appeal of a country is diverse and complex. People feel drawn to charms of the tourist spots and at the same time the dynamism of the country.

This is linked to whether there is sentiment that considers there being value in drawing people to the country, about whether there is value in spending time in the country, about whether there is the vitality to develop society in the country, and whether the people of the country feel a real joy to live, having wisdom about and pride in the "preciousness of life and livelihood." It also involves the question of whether the people of the country welcome people from abroad and share the joy for their life with these people.

(2) What are Japan's "Charm Points"?

Japan is an island brimming with charms. These are:

  1. "Coexistence with nature and the pursuit of beauty"
  2. "Coexistence of tradition and modern"
  3. "Coexistence of industrial vitality and cultural beauty"
  4. "Harmony with Japanese and Western styles"
  5. "Enveloped in bountiful nature"
  6. "Stable society safety and order"

What is important for us Japanese is to re-learn what we know about Japan, understand, love, discover and create charms, and have pride in our Japanese lifestyle.

(3) Is Japan Exhibiting its Charm?

  1. Japanese people themselves are gradually losing their appreciation of the charms of Japan
  2. Japan has not worked hard enough to protect and maintain its charms and on occasion has conversely eroded them
  3. There is a lack of effort to create new charms
  4. Vitality in Japan's economy and society has been stagnating

Such attitudes and situations must be tackled anew for the Japanese to regain their confidence and to accelerate internationalization at home. Japan must maintain, create and transmit its charm.

3. Transmission of the Japan Brand

(1) A Comprehensive Strategy to Transmit the Brand

If Japan is to try to enhance its ability to transmit the Japan brand, its transmission must be carried out strategically. For such an undertaking, it will be necessary to start by conducting a survey and analysis of Japan's image abroad, then to build a transmission strategy and reorganize transmission activities in an effective manner, with reference to overseas PR strategies.

(2) Increasing Marketing Prowess

Marketing is essential to the expansion of tourism, as interests vary between people and regions.

(3) Strengthening Cooperation among the Government, the Private Sector and Regions

Boosting Japan's brand will require effective transmission through cooperation among the Government, the private sector and local government. Japan must commit itself to fully conveying the charm of Japan to the world by all Japanese joining in the spirit of being "tourism ambassadors" for their country.

(4) Powerful Appeal

In transmitting the Japan brand, we must target the markets most likely to visit Japan and seek to strengthen our impression and appeal. Overseas examples demonstrate that "Top Sales", promotional activities conducted by persons in leadership are extremely effective in improving the appeal of the destination. Once the identity of Japan is established, it will be necessary to systematize its charms into a simple pattern and to find a way to convey that image in an easily understood manner. The World Exposition, which is to be held in Aichi Prefecture in 2005, is an excellent opportunity to advertise the charms of Japan. It is also necessary to improve our own knowledge and ability to communicate the charm of our own country, regions and ourselves.

(5) Use of Diverse Media

Various countries have recently been aggressive in their use of diverse media. In Japan, websites targeted at foreign viewers are still at an early stage of development, and the Government and the private sector need to work together in this regard. The websites need to contain lively information that is updated daily, as well as a function that allows reservations to be made directly by Internet. It would also be desirable that the websites are displayed not only in English but in Chinese and Korean as well.

4. Environmental Development to Accentuate Charm

(1) Developing Hard and Soft Infrastructure

Japan needs to comprehensively develop its soft and hard infrastructure so that it can fully exhibit its charms, and thus realize a country based on tourism.

(2) Improving Immigration Procedures

Alongside an appropriate response to the issues of social safety, public order and unlawful employment, Japan should work to improve the visa issuance system and to reduce the time taken for immigration inspection.

(3) Developing an Environment in which International Visitors Can Go around by Themselves

Japan must develop an environment in which international visitors can go around by themselves. In order to solve this problem, it is necessary for Japan to clarify the tasks from the perspective of international visitors and tackle them quickly. (Provision of information, information in English, etc.)

(4) Strengthening the International Competitiveness of the Tourism Industry

Tourism should be positioned as one of Japan's leading industries. To bring about such development, the tourism business should be viewed as an industry, and the one whose international competitiveness must be strengthened. To this end, it would be necessary to ease regulations to the greatest extent possible and strengthen the market functions so that the businesses involved can brainstorm their ideas and compete on their services. It would be desirable to provide a variety of services to meet the needs of international visitors, across a broad range of prices and choices.

(5) Enhancing the Charms that are Based on the Regions

In order for regions to further enhance their charms, it will be necessary to develop and create tourism resources as well as to increase networking between neighboring regions. The Charisma Ambassadors of Tourism, who play a leading role in promoting regional tourism, are strongly expected to assist in this regard. We propose the development of a national campaign under the theme of "one region, one tourism" that fosters competition among regions over their respective charms, which would also serve to encourage independent efforts by regions to boost their own selling points.

A "make our towns beautiful" national campaign also needs to be developed to beautify cities across Japan. Furthermore, "exchange between urban and rural areas" needs to be actively promoted in this way to provide people with an opportunity to choose either or both an urban or rural lifestyle.

(6) Developing Human Resources

The development of the right human resources with appropriate ability will be the decisive factor for Japan to realize a country based on tourism and strengthen the international competitiveness of its tourism industry. The Government must work together with the private sector to foster such human resources. At the same time, the Government should consider training professional leaders in tourism, by promoting tourism education at institutes of higher education.