|Ambassador Nogami delivers the opening speech
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for taking the time to attend the ��apan is yours to discover Kansai�ߡ�seminar and workshop today. I highly appreciate your presence.
My name is Shojiro Nan-ya. I am Chairman of the West Japan Railway Company. At the same time, I also serve as chairman of the Kansai International Tourism Promotion Center. Allow me to explain why I have been assigned to oversee the field of regional inbound tourism, which is quite different from the railway enterprise I serve under.
I have long been stressing the importance and necessity of inbound tourism development to the regional economic federation. I have felt that there is a lot of room for reviewing the conventional way of thinking of tourism promotion and how to grasp the tourism industry itself. It may seem very hard for one to do both assignments, as I do; however, I must say that my assignment as chairman of the Kansai International Tourism Promotion Center is, for me, a magnificent one.
The Kansai International Tourism Promotion Center was founded on December of last year. Our organization aims at developing inbound tourism on a region-wide basis throughout the Kansai area. Our activities here in Kansai are in line with the ��isit Japan Campaign�ߡ�being promoted by the Japanese national government.
Our organization's objectives are to promote the dissemination of information, which includes the attractiveness of the region's tourism resources, and meeting the needs of overseas travellers. When we effectively achieve these objectives, tourists will have a greater interest in Kansai in particular and Japan overall, and thus they will visit Japan and Kansai in greater numbers.
Speaking of here Great Britain: The total annual number of British tourists coming to Japan for sightseeing purposes is 0.12 million. On the other hand, Japanese tourists travelling to the United Kingdom is 0.25 million per year. This means that the number of British tourists coming to Japan is less than half of the number of Japanese tourists going to the United Kingdom. As you can see, a huge imbalance exists between the UK and Japan when it comes to tourism.
An abundance of fascinating information about United Kingdom is available in Japan. On the other hand, in the UK, up to now there may not have been enough information on Japan and Kansai or, if there was, such information may have been insufficient or unsuitable to British tastes. We believe we should study British people's interests and concerns more closely and dispatch useful, timely information on a continual basis. Consequently, we project that it would be possible to increase the number of British tourists visiting Japan.
Kansai is the region that we do recommend all of you to visit. As you may know, Kansai is another core region of Japan along with the metropolitan city of Tokyo.
The Kansai region of Japan enjoys the best of two worlds: the ancient aspects, such as its natural beauty, an abundance of onsen spas, and rich historical traditions on one hand; and the modern aspects like high-technology industries and a thriving contemporary culture on the other. Kansai is indeed a region that brings together the very lifestyle essences of Japan in the variety and wide range of benefits it offers.
In this seminar, we would like to introduce Japanese attractiveness, especially the charming points of Kansai. At the same time, we endeavour to give you useful updated information on creating your travel plans to Kansai. Please feel free to ask questions at the workshop corners. We are ready to provide you with any other necessary information later.
We have created two-way communication channels with professionals such as land operators and overseas travel agents. Please feel free to make any inquiries and we will reply to you as soon as possible.
Furthermore, we are planning a ����et-acquainted trip�ߡ�for you to experience Kansai. We are very happy that you will get to know Kansai much more deeply through this trip. We are confident that this ����et-acquainted trip�ߡ�will be useful for expanding your business.
Finally, in closing, we sincerely look forward to further expanding tourism exchange between the United Kingdom and Japan ? and along with it the hope of a deepened sense of mutual understanding and contribution that both countries can make toward the creation of a peaceful international society.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Japanese Ambassador and the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom, and the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) London office for their great support.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
* Related link: 'Japan is yours to discover in Kansai' seminar and reception