2020.10.22Planning the ideal business event in Japan

Planning the ideal business event in Japan

The global business events industry has been shaken by Covid-19, leading to the postponement or cancellation of many events, and causing industry stakeholders to rethink how their business operates. In response, the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has launched a new publication with information about how the industry as a whole is adapting to this “new normal” and why business event organisers should consider Japan for their next destination once international travel resumes. Despite the disruption, Japan is committed to minimising the health risk to visitors while offering its world-class hospitality, facilities and unique culture.

The publication reveals that while international travel is currently limited, the business world has pivoted to virtual and hybrid events to help bridge the distance between countries. While this is helping companies to foster and maintain business relationships, many people still see the benefits of travel and face-to-face meetings. So as industry stakeholders work to make this feasible again, interest in international business events and incentive travel is expected to be revived once health and travel restrictions ease.

Safety first and foremost

Safety, security and flexibility will be top priorities for business event organisers moving forward, and Japan has much to offer in this respect. Cleanliness and hygiene practices have deep historical roots in Japanese culture, illustrated by the fact that the Japanese word for beautiful, kirei, also means “clean”. Several deeply-ingrained aspects of Japanese daily life happen to complement international guidelines for reducing risk and maintaining social distance, such as the removal of shoes before entering homes and the practice of bowing in greeting, rather than hugging, kissing or shaking hands. Moreover, Japanese people are also accustomed to using face masks in everyday life.

Japan’s central government has launched a nationwide campaign to combat Covid-19, with a focus on preventing or avoiding the so-called three Cs (3Cs):

Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center

Japan’s hotels, conference venues, airlines and railway systems are already famous for their high standards of cleanliness. In line with the 3Cs they are now stepping up efforts more than ever to reduce risk and provide guests with peace of mind.

A tradition of excellence

Japan has a proven track record of excellence in hosting business event travellers. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) report, a total of 176,000 attendees participated in 527 meetings across 19 different cities in 2019. This gave Japan the highest number of meeting participants in Asia and placed it seventh in the world.

International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)

In addition to being ranked as one of the world’s safest destinations, Japan blends modern technology with ancient culture to create an absorbing destination that offers novel team-building activities complemented by high-spec venues. Japan’s excellent infrastructure, extensive domestic railway and airline networks, and a penchant for running things with precision are major boons when organising business events.

With Japan’s four distinct seasons providing an ever-changing backdrop for its rich natural heritage, cultural events and seasonal foods, it is an enchanting destination at any time of year. Made to be appreciated with all the five senses, Washoku, or traditional Japanese food, was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco in 2013. In recent years there has been a rise in the number of restaurants catering to specific dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan and halal cuisines.

JNTO is committed to helping business event planners create the best possible experience in Japan for international travellers. Along with the launch of this new publication, JNTO is taking its Meet Japan educational programme online in January 2021. This virtual programme for association organisers and meeting professionals will consist of an educational seminar, an “online familiarisation trip”, and an online “Japan Convention Trade Mart”, which will give hosted buyers the opportunity to meet with potential partners from other cities.

Katsumi Endo │ Executive Vice President, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

“There is now an increasing demand for safety, security and cleanliness due to Covid-19. With regard to these aspects, Japan has a history of being highly-regarded by business event planners and organisers,” says Katsumi Endo, executive vice president, JNTO. “I would like them to know that Japan is full of new discoveries and enjoyable experiences. It is a destination worth a visit, and I hope that they will consider holding an event in Japan in the future.”

When the timing is right for your organisation, JNTO's network of dedicated professional staff is waiting to help ensure your next international event is as unforgettable as Japan itself.

This article was produced by BBC StoryWorks, the BBC’s global commercial content division, on behalf of JNTO

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