Japan Meeting & Incentive News Print This Page May 2012

What's Up in Japan

12th Annual WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) Global Summit was Held

The World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) is a private, non-profit organization that consists of approximately 100 executives from tourism firms around the globe. The WTTC is the only organization that covers private firms involved with core tourism business worldwide.

The WTTC hosts the Global Summit every year with about 1,000 participants from international organizations, state governments, economic organizations, and news media from all over the world. The global summit is also known as “The Davos Forum of the Travel & Tourism Industry” for its size and diversity, and is recognized as the most critical event in the world’s tourism industry. Between April 16 and April 19 in 2012, the 12th global summit was held in Sendai and Tokyo, Japan.

During the summit, nine themed sessions were held, with lectures and discussions by over 80 of the world’s analysts and leaders of the tourism industry. From Japan, Tadao Ando, the famous architect, and Fujio Cho, the Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, provided special sessions. At the Sendai venue, sessions were held with the topic of disasters and risk management. Norifumi Ide, Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Hiroaki Takahashi, Chairman of the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organization, and others gave presentations on the recovery status of the areas affected by the Great Tohoku Earthquake, Japan’s initiatives for reconstructing tourism, and Japan’s safety and attractions-including those in the Tohoku area. In addition, chief managers in charge of risk management and other officials from Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) exchanged opinions.

Participants travelled from Sendai to Tokyo station aboard the Hayate Shinkansen, which moves at speeds of up to 300 km/h, and was chartered specifically for the WTTC delegates. On the train, participants experienced the newly introduced, luxurious Grand Class cabin, and were able to purchase food and drinks with JR’s smartcard, the Suica IC, which allows passengers to pay for various goods and services including travel with a single card. The participants were welcomed at the Tokyo station by the stationmaster, personnel of Japan Railways and the Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau holding welcome signs.

The Grand Prince Hotel hosted the Tokyo portion of the summit, and was set up with a central stage surrounded by four large screens, which resembled a Noh theatre and provided a modern take on traditional Japanese culture. Next to the general assembly area, an exhibition space was set up to give delegates a chance to see traditional local crafts and souvenirs, the latest aircraft developments and various advancements from Japan Railways. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) collaborated with the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) to set up a booth called the “Visit Japan Lounge” to offer information about tourism in Japan.

As an example of an eco-friendly convention style promoting a paper-free meeting, Toshiba Corporation donated about 500 tablet PCs to the participants. The tablets were used for providing relevant information such as panelist profiles and sending questions from the participants during the panel discussion. Toyota Motor’s chairman, Mr. Cho, presented a future mobility idea during his special session, showing a single-seat future concept car called “i-real”. Through these efforts, the summit achieved a fusion of culture and technology.

During the summit meeting, a prediction was voiced that the number of world travelers will reach 1 billion in 2012, boosting tourism-related GNP to 6.3 trillion dollars (9% of the world’s GDP). This renewed the participants’ recognition that tourism is the world’s largest industry. The participants reached an agreement to urge governments and relevant organizations in an integrated manner to make improvements such as removing obstacles for development and easing of visa procedures.

Session outline:
Name of the conference:
12th Annual WTTC Global Summit
Date: April 16-19, 2012
Sendai (April 16 through morning of April 17): The Westin Sendai
Tokyo (April 17 evening through April 19): Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa (International Convention Center Pamir)
Number of participants:
Sendai: 673 people from 53 countries,
Tokyo: 1,234 people from 53 countries
Convention website:
2012 MICE Calendar
(May - July)

Many large conventions will be held in Japan in 2012.

The 14th International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists (IACIS) Conference (IACIS 2012)
Sendai, May 13-18
Sendai International Center :
Official Website:
The 4th International Symposium of Brain Tumor Pathology
Nagoya, May 24-26
Nagoya Congress Center:
Official Website:
The 10th Asian Pacific Congress of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (APCCVIR2012)
Kobe, May 30-June 2
Portopia Hotel:
Official Website:
The 80th Annual Meeting and 24th Congress International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD)
Kyoto, June 2-8
Kyoto International Conference Center:
Official Website:
The 10th Meeting of Asian Australasian Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology (AAFITN2012)
Nagoya, June 14-16
Nagoya Congress Center:
Official Website:
International Society for Stem Cell Research(ISSCR 10th Annual Meeting)
Yokohama, June 13-16
Pacifico Yokohama:
Official Website:
The 27th International Fire Chiefs Association of Asia General Conference (IFCAA 2012)
Sapporo, June 20-23
Sapporo Convention Center:
Official Website:
2012 ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting
Otsu, July 8-13
Lake Biwa Area (Biwako Hall, Piazza Ohmi, Collabo Shiga 21):
Official Website:
New Event Hall and Conference Rooms Open in Tokyo

Shibuya Hikarie

On April 26, a new landmark tower complex called Shibuya Hikarie opened in front of Shibuya station in Tokyo (http://www.hikarie.jp/). The tower complex directly connects to Shibuya station and consists of cultural facilities including offices, department store, restaurants, and theaters. The tower rises 34 stories above the ground and has 4 underground stories (B3-8F: commercial facilities, 9F-10F Tokyo’s largest event hall, Hikarie, 11F-16F: theater, and 17F-34F: office space). The commercial facility includes a shopping complex called “ShinQs” (B3-5F), with 200 shops including food, beauty, and fashion; 26 restaurants (6F-7F); and a gallery (8F).

Hikarie Hall

The event space, Hikarie Hall (9F) is to be opened in July and has two halls (Hall A: 1,000 m2 and Hall B: 300 m2). Hall A can accommodate about 600 people for a buffet-style party, 850 seats for theater-style events, or 456 seats for classroom-style events, while Hall B can accommodate about 160 people for a buffet-style party, 266 seats for theater-style events, or 156 seats for classroom-style events. Anterooms for each hall are on the 10th floor, (5 rooms for Hall A and 3 rooms for Hall B). The 7m-high Hikarie Hall is equipped with the latest functions and can be used for various events, such as fashion shows, meeting/seminars, exhibitions, or parties. The Hikarie Conference (11F) has a total of 5 meeting rooms of different sizes that can accommodate between 10 and 24 people for classroom-style events. Guests can enjoy the convenience of Hikarie being a convention facility located in the heart of an exciting multi-use development handily located in front of a rail station.

In the same Shibuya area, another large event hall, called “Bellesalle Shibuya Garden” opens on June 1, 2012. Its large event hall, with over 3,500 m2 of space, is one of the largest event halls in the Shibuya area. Bellesalle Shibuya Garden has three halls: one hall with approx. 684 m2 on the first floor and two halls (approx. 1,187 m2and 1,639 m2) on the second floor. The large space, with its 6m-high ceilings, can be used for various business events, such as joint exhibitions, product launches and general assemblies.

The Shinjuku area in Tokyo will also have a newly-opened event/convention hall, “Bellesalle Shinjuku Grand”. Opened last December, the facility has two halls (total 1,474 m2) on the first floor: Hall A (805 m2) and Hall B (669 m2), and accommodates 1,116 seats for classroom-style events or 1,404 seats for theater-style events. The fifth floor features 13 meeting rooms and 4 anterooms, which can be divided into smaller spaces with sliding walls according to the space requirements of the meeting.

These event/convention facilities are located in easily accessible places close to railway stations in the heart of Tokyo. You can use any of these facilities according to your needs.


See you at the Convention Exhibition, “Korea MICE Expo”!

JNTO will be exhibiting at the Korea Mice Expo 2012 – a convention exhibition to be held in Seoul on July 3-5, 2012. If you are attending, please stop by the Japan booth to collect information about Japan, our support services, ideas for incentive programmes or anything else that you might need. We look forward to meeting you in Seoul.

Event: KOREA MICE EXPO 2012 (Seoul, Korea)
Date: July 3-5 (Tues-Thurs), 2012
(Exhibition and Business Meetings: July 4 (Wed) and 5 (Thu), 2012)
Venue: Seoul, COEX Center
Hosts: Korea Tourism Organization, Seoul Metropolitan City
URL: http://www.koreamice.kr/eng/eng_index.asp
Contact: JNTO Seoul Office, IM Young Hong, im@jnto.or.kr

This Month’s Feature City


Several ongoing redevelopment projects are taking place on the north side of the JR Osaka station. Attracting attention is one of the largest projects-namely with Osaka’s first InterContinental hotel and a full-scale convention center, both of which will open in 2013 within the Umekita-Grand Front Osaka building.
The area to the north of JR Osaka station spans approximately 24 hectares, and will be home to the Umekita Phase 1 Development Area Project. This project will include a hotel and private residences, high-quality offices (the largest in the Kansai region), and a shopping complex featuring lifestyle shops. Within this area to the north of the station, there is also a plan to construct an open air public space of about 10,000 m2 and other facilities.

Umekita-Grand Front Osaka

Grand Front Osaka URL:

Osaka’s First InterContinental Hotel

Planned to open in 2013, the Osaka Intercontinental is a luxury hotel with 200 guest rooms, 50 residences for long-term guests, and features premiere restaurants and banquet rooms. Moving forward, the Umekita Phase 1 Development Area Project will add further facilities with a sophisticated air to the area. This project, along with the Intercontinental Hotel, will create a vibrant and enjoyable district in Osaka’s Umeda district, which will be enjoyed by guests from Japan and around the world.

The InterContinental hotel provides services utilizing regional knowledge, which has been accumulated through years of experience operating 166 hotels in sixty or more countries, for over six decades.

The hotels are located primarily in urban areas such as London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, and resort areas including Bali and Tahiti. The InterContinental Group has six hotels in Japan including ANA InterContinental, Tokyo (Akasaka, Minato City). The InterContinental Hotel achieved world-wide fame from both international and domestic guests for the quality services of the “Club InterContinental” room, with additional services such as dedicated lounge function, experienced concierge services, and a well-established global standard and brand.

Osaka's First InterContinental Hotel


Convention Center to Open in Front of the Osaka Station

In the spring of 2013, a convention center will open on the second floor basement of the Grand Front Osaka, a building in the recently redeveloped area in front of JR Osaka Station. The center is capable of accommodating 3,000 people in nine conference rooms, including the main hall (1,700 m2 of space, divisible into two or three sections, and a 7.2 m high ceiling). The conference rooms can host a variety of events such as: international conventions, scientific conferences, lecture presentations, exhibitions, and events.
The convention center comes into the spotlight as part of the redevelopment projects in front of the Osaka Station that are expected to serve as a gateway to Asia and other countries.


Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

The Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau was established on April 1, 2003, consolidating 3 tourism-related organizations in Osaka to create an integrated body to promote tourism and conventions. As a central player in Osaka’s overall tourism strategy, the Bureau rigorously promotes Osaka and the Kansai region in general to appeal to tourists and meeting/event planners.

Incentive Tour in Osaka

So far, numerous international conventions and events have taken place in Osaka, including the APEC summit (1995), the 85th Lions Clubs International Convention (2002), the Third World Water Forum (2003), the 23rd World Judo Championships, International Rotary Club 2004 World Convention, an incentive tour of Taiwan’s life insurance company for 3,500 visitors, the 27th General Assembly of the Japan Medical Congress (2007), and the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics Osaka. This year, SWIFT International Banking Operation Seminar (SIBOS) and the 22nd General Meeting of the Japanese Association for Dental Science are planned to be held in Osaka. The SIBOS meeting has a major impact on the overall economy - it brought over 10 billion yen when held in Europe - no doubt to be one of the world’s largest international conventions in terms of size and content. This will be the very first time that the SIBOS meeting will take place in Japan.

In the spring of 2013, the Osaka “Kita” (north) area will undergo drastic changes with the opening of the Intercontinental Osaka hotel. An industrial-government-academia complex called the “Knowledge Capital”, which includes a convention facility capable of accommodating about 3,000 people, will also begin operations in the same area.

In 2014, Japan’s highest tower building, “Abeno Harukas” will be completed in Abeno-ku, Osaka. With Kintetsu Osaka Abenobashi Station, museums, shopping and residence areas, and the Osaka Marriott Miyako Hotel, the building will be the highest station building in the world.

Kansai International Airport connects the city with many major cities overseas with direct flights, giving Osaka outstanding transportation access. Easy-access to various domestic convention centers (e.g. Osaka International Convention Center, INTEX Osaka, Osaka Castle Hall, Osaka International House Foundation, and Kyocera Dome Osaka) is also available, allowing organizing meetings with various purposes. The Osaka International Convention Center has the latest convention equipment, while INTEX Osaka (73,000 m2) is one of the largest exhibition halls in Japan. Within the city, there are 40,000 hotel rooms, ranging from business hotels to world-famous luxury hotels, allowing diverse services at your choice (e.g. the number of visitors and budget). Thanks to its easily-accessible location in the heart of Kansai region, Osaka is the most advantageous place as a sightseeing hub for tourists visiting must see places such as the World Heritage sights in Nara and Kyoto, and the sacred mountain, Koyasan. The Kansai area is rich with historic resources, while Osaka is also known for its traditional performing arts such as Bunraku puppet theater which has been inherited through generations. Not only that, Osaka has a wide variety of tourist destinations including Universal Studios Japan (USJ), Osaka Castle, and a shoppers paradise around the Midosuji main avenue and areas known as Kita (literally, the north side) and Minami (literally, the South side) where numerous famous brand shops and restaurants gather. After the convention, you can also enjoy the nightlife here as well as in the downtown area called “Dotonbori”. With thousands of restaurants, bars, and food stands, Dotonbori epitomizes Osaka’s reputation as “the town where you can ruin yourself with extravagant food.”

A message from Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau:

Currently, two large redevelopment projects are ongoing in Osaka: one is taking place in an area called “Kita”, the north side around Umeda area, and the other for an area called “Minami”, the south side around Tennoji and Namba. Come visit a renewed Osaka!

Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau offers various support services for organizers of international conventions and incentive tours. For further information, please check the following website:


Convention Team of Osaka Convention Tourism Bureau (OCTB)

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