SYDNEY December 14, 2012 – Australia and Japan’s national tourism marketing organisations are partnering to encourage two-way tourism between the two nations as part of a new initiative – the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013.
Starting from 1 January 2013, the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year aims to promote bilateral exchange between the tourism industries of both countries to ensure longer term sustainable growth in their visitor economies. Throughout 2013 a range of promotions and hosted events will take place in various regions throughout Australia and Japan, to collectively engage around 650,000 people, with the aim of sparking interest in travel to each nation.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said Japan has been a market of long standing importance to Australian tourism and continued to be a significant source of visitors to the country.
“Despite the various factors that have impacted tourism to Australia from Japan in recent years, the fact remains that Japanese visitors remain a very important and significant part of our visitor economy,” Mr McEvoy said.
“Last year alone visitors from Japan contributed $1.4 billion in expenditure for Australia in what was a challenging year.
“This year we have seen the conditions improve for travel and in the 12 months to the end of October 2012 visitor numbers from Japan have grown by three percent to more than 348,000 for the year.
“These results are very encouraging and reflect a positive turnaround to growth, putting us well on track to welcoming more than 350,000 Japanese visitors in 2012 and many more visitors in the longer term.
“Partnering with JNTO to encourage bilateral tourism opportunities in the coming year will provide further impetus to our plans to harness ‘the green shoots’ we are seeing from Japan to further reinvigorate the market,” Mr McEvoy said.
Mr McEvoy added that Australia’s marketing effort would be further boosted next year with the roll out of the Japan specific activity as part of the Asia Marketing Fund, announced in the Federal Budget in May.
President, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Mr Ryoichi Matsuyama said Japan and Australia have kept a good relationship over the past years.
“Australian tourist numbers to Japan even after the Great East Japan Earthquake maintained the position of 6th largest in 2011, which demonstrates how important the Australian market is to us,” Mr Matsuyama said.
“After the earthquake, not only was Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard the first leader to visit the affected areas, but Australian tourists were some of the first to come back especially for the snow season, and we are very thankful for that,” emphasised Mr Matsuyama.
Mr Matsuyama also said “this year the total number of Australian visitors up until October grew by 26.8% from October 2011 and had already surpassed last year’s total visitor numbers which were 162,700. “
“JNTO will step up promotion targeting families, skiers as well as promote school trips as a way of mutual exchange and beautiful beaches such as Okinawa. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Tourism Australia in 2013, and boosting the flow of tourism between Japan and Australia, making it a fruitful year for both countries,” noted Mr Matsuyama.
The Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 also marks the 50th anniversary of the first sister-city relationship for Japan and Australia, established between Yamatotakada City in Nara Prefecture and Lismore City in New South Wales in 1963.
There are currently more than 100 sister-city relationships between Japan and Australia, which are a platform for active international cultural exchange, and these are seen as a further opportunity for encouraging travel in the coming year.
Mr Matsuyama added that JNTO would be part of the Japan Expo taking place at Darling Harbour this Saturday 15 December 2012 to inspire Australians to travel to Japan to experience the country’s rich and diverse culture.
Specific activities for the Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 include:
- Creating dedicated branding for industry to use at any culture/sport events conducted in Australia and Japan in 2013;
- Partnering to deliver content for an official website in both Japanese and English to be hosted by a travel media site, to introduce information of Japan/Australia sister city (www.jnto.org.au/2013) relationship and culture/sports events conducted in both countries; and
- Revitalising Australia-Japan sister-city activities as well as sister-school activities through anniversary events.
Australia-Japan Tourism Exchange Year 2013 logo