Japan tourism aims to top pre-earthquake arrivals record Japan’s travel and tourism industry is forecast to stage a complete recovery following last year’s earthquake and tsunami during the first half of 2012. A new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), its fourth and final report since the earthquake of March 11, 2011, forecasts the full recovery of international tourism demand during the first half of 2012, having initially fallen 62 percent in April 2011. According to WTTC, Japan’s travel and tourism industry is set to directly contribute JPY10,276 billion (US$129 billion) in 2012, marginally above the JPY10,246 billion (US$128.5 billion) in 2010. This followed a fall of 3.9 percent in 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami. David Scowsill, President and CEO of WTTC said: “Japan is the third largest travel and tourism economy in the world, so its health is of crucial importance to our industry across the globe. Japan’s travel and tourism recovery has been much better than anyone could have anticipated 12 months ago. With help of a forceful marketing strategy, Japan is open and ready for business. Domestic travel recovered strongly last year, and 2012 is forecast to be the year for full recovery of international visitors. “It is particularly fitting that WTTC is holding its Global Summit in Sendai and Tokyo from April 16-19. We are delighted to be taking the leaders of our industry to Japan at such an important time for the country.” Other selected highlights from the report show: - Outbound travel and tourism has followed a similar path to that of domestic tourism, as Japanese travelers quickly regained confidence and recovery was more rapid than under any of the original scenarios. For 2011 as a whole, departures were 2 percent higher than in 2010 – to just under 17 million from 16.6 million in 2010 – with growth evident from as early as July. This means that outbound travel has not only recovered back to previous levels, in terms of trips, but has also fully recovered losses from the period during and immediately after the disaster. However, outbound travel expenditure was still more than 8 percent down on 2010’s level after the first ten months of the year. - Oxford Economics, WTTC’s research partner, suggests the strengthening of the yen may also have added as much as 4 percent growth to departures over baseline forecasts. But the increase in outbound departures averaged roughly 7 percent in the last six months of 2011, suggesting that other factors are also having a significant impact. - JTB Foundation is currently forecasting a 4 percent increase in Japanese outbound travel, with a continuation of the trend to more short-haul and less long-haul travel. - For 2011 as a whole, inbound arrivals were 28 percent down on 2010’s level – to 6.2 million from 8.6 million in 2010 – with January 2012 showing only a 4 percent down on the same month of the previous year. By contrast, visitor exports were an estimated 28 percent below 2010’s level through the first ten months of 2011. - Business travelers have been quickest to respond to the reality that Japan remains a safe and attractive destination, with inbound arrivals approaching 2010 levels during the second half 2011. But leisure traveler volumes were still significantly lower than a year earlier in October, the latest month for which a breakdown of arrivals data is available. - South Korea – Japan’s leading market source – was down 32 percent over the year, with just under 1.7 million visitors as against more than 2.4 million in 2010. Arrivals from number two market, China, slipped by 26 percent, although the last couple of months saw strong double-digit growth, thanks in large part to a major year-end promotional drive and an easing of visa requirements for Chinese. - The Japan National Tourism Organization is aiming to top 2010’s record 18.6 million arrivals count in 2012. Source: wttc.org, eTurbo News (Mar 07, 2012)
As featured in Outdoor Japan Traveler, Sarah Outen has resumed her around-the-world adventure after two weeks of delays due to bad weather conditions in Japan, departing from Choshi, Japan. As she resumes her around-the-world adventure, she also makes a record breaking attempt to become the first woman to cross the North Pacific solo. See the original press release below for more details about Sarah, the row and her London2London: Via the World expedition. British adventurer sets off on record-breaking solo row across the North Pacific Ocean (May 14, 2012) Young British adventurer, Sarah Outen (26) headed off on her record-breaking solo row across the North Pacific Ocean, from Choshi in Japan to Vancouver in Canada. And in doing so, is set to become the first woman to ever row across the North Pacific Ocean. This is an epic 4,500 nautical mile journey across the world’s largest ocean and will mean between 150 and 200 days alone out at sea. Only two men have previously rowed solo across this northern route from Japan to North America. This North Pacific row is part of Sarah’s wider, two and half year expedition, “London2London: Via the World” that will see her cycle, row and kayak a continuous loop of the planet – that’s over 20,000 miles. She is sharing her stories along the way through her website and social media to hopefully inspire young people to follow their dreams and believe that anything is possible. She is also hoping to raise £100,000 for her four chosen charities – CoppaFeel!, The Jubilee Sailing Trust, MNDA and WaterAid. Sarah, who has a fear of deep water, says of the row: “The North Pacific will be the most gruelling part of my whole London2London expedition. Physically and mentally, I expect to be exhausted most of the time – the distance, the solitude, the weather conditions and my complete isolation will make it hugely challenging. In spite of the challenges and dangers ahead, I still can’t wait to get out there.” She adds: “I am an ocean girl at heart and love being so close to the water and living to the rhythms of the wild. The energy out there is magic and the dynamics so exciting. I am hoping for some special wildlife moments and hopefully not too many storms. But I am especially looking forward to the sunsets and the stars.” Sarah will be rowing completely on her own and will be 100% self-sufficient, taking all her food with her on her 7metre customised rowing boat, Gulliver. Also on board will be a desalination machine, with which she can convert seawater into drinking water. She will have a full suite of communications equipment on board, which will allow her to do interviews, blog and tweet while out on the ocean. She will also have an iPod for music, a Kindle for books and will be tracked live using GPS technology. Everything will be charged using the on-board solar panels. Ocean dangers While out on the North Pacific Ocean, Sarah will be faced with a whole host of dangers every day, from exhaustion, dehydration, hypo- and hyperthermia to collisions with other ships, capsizing and drowning. Sarah explains: “Out on the ocean the biggest danger is from shipping – my boat is so tiny that it is difficult for larger vessels to see me. Landing on the west coast of Canada will also be a huge challenge and probably the most dangerous part of the whole journey. At least if I roll at sea there is little chance of me crashing into anything. But perhaps the greatest challenge comes from being solo out there as I have to be everything to myself and manage every situation as best I can. Sleep deprivation and rough weather can make that incredibly tough.” This is, however, not Sarah’s first ocean row as in 2009 she became the first woman and youngest person ever to row solo across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Mauritius. London2London: Via the World – the story so far World-renowned explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes says of Sarah and her London2London expedition: “Sarah will face dangers on a daily basis, which only the hardiest could tolerate. But I’m sure she will succeed and confirm that she is an adventurer and expeditioner second to none.” On 1st April, 2011, Sarah set off on her London2London expedition from London’s Tower Bridge and in her kayak, Nelson travelled down the Thames and across the English Channel to France. She then jumped on her bicycle, Hercules, and cycled over 10,000 miles through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and then back into Russia’s wild Far East. Sarah then used Nelson and Hercules to paddle and cycle her way over 1,000 miles to Japan via the remote island of Sakhalin. She has spent the winter in Japan and has now set off on her record-breaking North Pacific Ocean row, after which she will again take up Hercules’ saddle and cycle 3,000 miles from Vancouver to Nova Scotia, through the harsh North American winter. The final major leg will involve Sarah rowing home to the UK across nearly 3,000 nautical miles of the North Atlantic Ocean. Nobody has ever rowed this combination of the North Pacific and North Atlantic oceans in a single journey, solo or otherwise. Dame Ellen MacArthur says of Sarah and her expedition: “When I first met her, I knew that Sarah was a very special person with fire in her belly. I wish her good luck for London2London: Via the World, I think it’s a fantastic project particularly working with young people to inspire them and to teach them all about her journeys. For details on how to donate to Sarah’s chosen charities, simply go to the Charities section of Sarah’s website: http://www.sarahouten.com/charity/ London2London: Via the World in numbers: · 2 solo ocean rows, 7,500 nautical miles · 3 continents, 14 countries by bike · 300 nautical miles by kayak · 6 – 8,000 calories a day · 850 days away · Up to 11 months at sea alone · A few world records · One little tent · 40 punctures so far · 2 new wheels, 10 new tyres and 10 new tubes so far · 2 pairs of shoes to date · Longest cycle in one go so far: 166 miles through the night on Sakhalin · Longest kayak in one go so far: 38 nautical miles in 12 hours between Sakhalin and Japan · Worst roads: Kazakhstan and Russia · Best wildlife spot: brown bear on the beach in Russia · A few bouts of food poisoning · 3 marriage proposals · Thousands of children inspired
AOKI Releases Business Suits for Bicycle Commuters Copyright AOKI Inc. AOKI Inc., a major Japanese men's apparel company, announced on February 4, 2012, the release of the "LES MUES Bike Line" of business suits for bicycle commuters. Bicycle commuting has become very trendy as a means of mobility in times of emergency, such as after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, as well as part of health- and environmental-consciousness efforts. However, many people have problems cycling while wearing general business suits. The company therefore developed a new type of business suit designed specially for the needs of the commuter cyclist. The suits feature stretchy materials for mobility, and water resistant and stain repellent finishing, and are machine washable. In addition, zippers for some of the pockets help prevent the contents from spilling out. Cyclists can therefore ride safely by tying up the jacket hem with snaps, while the suit includes reflective tape under the collar riding in darkness. The pants also have patches to strengthen areas subjected to frequent rubbing, such as the inner thigh and hip. However, despite these modifications, these suits look almost the same as regular business suits.
Shin-Etsu Trail Club Wins Eco-Tourism Grand Prize Copyright Non-profit organization Shin-Etsu Trail Club Japanese non-profit organization (NPO) the Shin-Etsu Trail Club (Iiyama city, Nagano Prefecture) was selected from 63 applicants for the grand prize of the 7th Ecotourism Awards announced by Japan's Ministry of the Environment (MOE) on December 20, 2011. The Ecotourism Awards recognize and publicize ecotourism efforts by businesses, organizations, and municipalities in Japan. Powered by a hardworking volunteer staff, the Shin-Etsu Trail Club manages and maintains the 80-kilometer Shin-etsu trail, which runs along the border between Nagano Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture. Three years after the trail's opening, various trail-based activities are still expanding in the area. The group's broad-reaching and proactive efforts to revitalize local communities by establishing a maintenance system based on collaboration with neighboring organizations and by using the trail as infrastructure for conserving and utilizing local resources were rated very highly.
Mariners, A's to open '12 MLB season in Japan Proceeds from two-game series will assist nation's rebuilding efforts Major League Baseball will open its 2012 season on March 28-29 in Japan with two games between the Seattle Mariners (the "road" team) and the Oakland Athletics (the "home" team). Both of these teams are highly popular with Japanese baseball fans. This is the fourth season opener in Japan, and the first since the 2008 opener which was held at the Tokyo Dome, where this year's games will also take place. The two-game series is dedicated to assisting the rebuilding efforts as Japan continues its difficult recovery from the catastrophic events of last March, when an earthquake and tsunami wreaked unimaginable destruction across a wide swath of northeastern Japan and its after effects reverberated around the globe. The series is made possible through the support of Nippon Professional Baseball and Yomiuri. For more information on 2012 MLB Opening Series tickets, visit here.
The JNTO has put together a useful, updated 2012 Cherry Blossom Forecast Map showing when the beautiful flowers will usher in spring in your neck of the woods. Visit their Cherry Blossom Forecast page here!
The Japan Journals crew are in Japan filming some new episodes of their Web video series. Check out Episode 1 here Outdoor Japan is proud to support the Japan Journals crew as the document another epic season in Japan! You may know these guys from their acclaimed Diaries Down Under series.
English guided tours of selected exhibitors at Eco-Products Exhibition 2011 (Organized by Nikkei Inc.). At the 13th Annual Eco-Products 2011 Exhibition is scheduled to be held from December 15th to 17th at the Tokyo International Exhibition Center or "Tokyo Big Sight," EcoNetworks will hold an English guided tour of selected exhibitors specially designed for foreigners who need language assistance. Eco-Products website: http://eco-pro.com/eco2011/english/index.html * Tour Description: 1-hour Walk around the Exhibition The Eco-Products Exhibition 2011 is expected to draw more than 750 companies/organizations as exhibitors covering huge areas. Our 1-hour walking tour introduces you to some featured exhibits, and you will get a general picture of the exhibition. * English Guided Tour Schedule: - December 15th (Thursday) 13:00 - 14:30 - December 15th (Thursday) 15:30 - 17:00 - December 16th (Friday) 13:00 - 14:30 - December 16th (Friday) 15:30 - 17:00 * Place: Tokyo Big Sight - Tokyo, Japan http://www.bigsight.jp/english/general/access/index.html * Tour registration, Please fill in the sign-up form on the bottom of following page: http://eco-pro.com/eco2011/english/index06.html * Facebook Updates Leading up to the event, you can find more information about the past events and what's coming up at: http://www.facebook.com/EcoNetworks?sk=app_263288443714462 * Tour Report 2010 http://www.japanfs.org/en/aboutus/event/pages/030526.html Through the guided tour, you will not only see a wide range of Japanese eco-products but also learn how Japan can contribute to the world with such technologies and products to reduce its impacts on the global environment. * Fee The fee for participation is free. If you have any questions and concerns, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact person: Shiro Hosojima, Tel/Fax ++81-44-933-7639 * About EcoNetworks Co. http://www.econetworks.jp/en/
JAL Extends Free Transportation of Relief Goods to Thailand Japan Airlines (JAL) extends its condolence to those affected by the serious flooding in Thailand in recent weeks. JAL will provide from Japan, free transport of relief goods at the request of central and local governments and authorities, embassies, United Nations agencies based in Japan, and the non-governmental organization Japan Platform*. Additionally, addressees of the emergency supplies must also be recognized public organizations in Thailand. JAL will transport free of charge, relief goods and materials on scheduled JAL Group operated flights from Tokyo's Narita and Haneda airports, as well as Osaka (Kansai) to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport between November 10 and December 9, 2011. Supplies will be carried as air freight and under the conditions specified below: The shipper and consignee are eligible organizations Contact information of the shipper and consignee are clear Arrangements for customs clearance and surface transport at the departure point and arrival point must be completed by the shipper beforehand Shipments must not contain dangerous goods, live animals, or other restricted items The weight of each shipment must not be more than 1 ton. The time between receiving the shipment and its arrival in Bangkok must be within approximately one week. For any enquiry, please call 03-5460-3104 between 09:30 to 18:30 (JST) from Mondays to Fridays. * Japan Platform is a facility to provide humanitarian assistance to major disasters and humanitarian crisis through coordination among various organizations. For more information, visit: http://www.japanplatform.org/top.html%0d