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As lockdown gradually eases around the world, join Japan Society Chairman, Bill Emmott, to discuss the future of international travel with David Atkinson, Timothy Jenkins and Martin Barrow.
The travel, tourism and hospitality industries have been among the sectors worst hit by the pandemic’s restrictions and recovery is likely to be slow. With the UK having just imposed quarantine restrictions on inbound air passengers, and Japan’s entry ban on almost all foreign travellers continuing until at least the end of this month, it will be some time before we are able to visit each other in person.
Moreover, domestic travel also continues to be discouraged in both countries, though a reported 1.7 trillion yen domestic tourism campaign is being planned for late July to stimulate the industry in Japan and in Britain there is much talk of “staycations”.
But what can we expect, as restrictions are lifted, and people once again seek to travel and explore? How can the industry adapt to social distancing requirements, while remaining profitable? Can any real economic recovery take place without this sector, which is so valuable in cash and employment terms? Might this nevertheless be an opportunity to rethink and reinvent tourism for the longer term?
David Atkinson is CEO of Konishi Decorative Arts and Crafts Co Ltd, a 300-year-old Tokyo-based company which restores shrines and temples across Japan. Having joined Konishi as a consultant in 2009, he has been engaged in projects to repair and re-build national treasures and important cultural properties, becoming its CEO in 2011. Using his in-depth knowledge of Japanese traditional culture and cultural properties, he has served as a Visit Kyoto Ambassador since 2015, and has also participated in a number of advisory councils on tourism and culture. Prior to this, he worked in Japan for over fifteen years as a banking analyst for Salomon Brothers, and then Goldman Sachs.
Timothy Jenkins is Policy and Public Affairs Manager at VisitBritain/VisitEngland, with a role to advise Government on tourism policy, particularly focused on developing England’s tourism product. Prior to this he served as Parliamentary Researcher and Press Officer for Neil Parish, Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton.
Martin Barrow is Visit Japan Ambassador in the UK, appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism since 2008, having long been involved in the Visit Japan Campaign. Having fallen in love with Japan during a gap year visit, he later spent 8 years posted to Tokyo with Jardine Matheson. Later, while working in Hong Kong, his formal involvement in travel and tourism was cemented during a period as Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (1988 – 1996).
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