Overseas tourist tragedies (Egypt and Tunisia) remind us just how lucky we are with public safety in Japan, and how Japan should be selling itself as a safe destination for international tourists wanting somewhere exotic to go.
A new government initiative operated from the Japan External Trade Organization in cooperation with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has been launched to help make it easier for foreigners to start a company in Japan.
Since JAL emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, the company has been on a combination of cost-cutting and strategic route planning. Everything was relatively new, staff were courteous and imbued with "omotenashi".
We remember the days when a 30% currency change over 2 years was considered dramatic, and yet here we are at more than 50% and mostly we sit back and complain about how things are getting more expensive.
Already Japan is becoming one of the premier holiday destinations for wealthy people in Asia, we think it won't be too long before we start seeing the same phenomenon here that Florida has with Canadians.
Budget airline company Skymark went into bankruptcy, marking the end of a painful 3-year process of spiraling losses (especially in the last year) due to a declining market share and expanding costs.
With the rise of Online Travel Agents (OTAs) suddenly foreigners are being directed to places and activities in Japan that are being decided and arranged by marketers and tour planners based abroad.
In TT 700, we wrote about a rice cracker company called Kameda Seika, which had just bought an upstart cracker company in the USA called Marys Gone Crackers (MGC). Has it actually worked?
Japan has many unique and interesting experiences. What all these events have in common, apart from the fact that they are powerful enough to draw foreign travelers, is that they are highly popular here at home as well.
As is our tradition for the last few years, we will make some predictions about the coming year, but with a slight departure -- all the predictions this year are about the same theme, the economy.
The Japanese government and tourist industry has been wrestling recently with how to look after its growing number of Muslim travelers -- especially for food, cosmetics, and toiletries.
The exhibition hall in Singapore where AFA was held was packed to the gills. For a city/state of just 5.4MM it's amazing how they can produce such large crowds of excited fans.
In April, for the first time since records were kept in 1996, inbound tourists outspent Japanese ones. That's no small feat, given that there are about 25% more Japanese going abroad versus foreigners coming in.