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Japanese Appeal And Demand Blossoms At Upcoming IT&CM Asia 2018, Showcases 6 Global MICE Cities Ready To Charm

With Japan’s MICE appeal and capabilities continuing to impress, IT&CMA’s largest Japan display to date will feature 6 Global MICE Cities – Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Kobe, Nagasaki, Osaka, Sapporo – to meet eager MICE and Association buyers within the Japan area at IT&CMA later this September in Bangkok.
Ready to welcome Japan’s presence at IT&CMA, Darren Ng, Managing Director, TTG Asia Media, cited, “Besides Japan’s exceptional hospitality, culture and standards of service with which the country is globally recognised for, Japan boasts a number of cities with their own special characteristics for different types of business events, which in turn determines their individual MICE offerings. ”
JTB Corporation will also make an entry into IT&CMA. The organisation serves Japan’s tourism industry from over 1,100 offices in 38 countries, with group’s global corporate business faction functioning as a leading DMC and PCO for MICE and Business Travel Management in Asia by leveraging on its deep-rooted connections worldwide. Notably, the JTB group has been forming business alliances with government projects like the G20 Summit, Tokyo Olympics, and Rugby World Cup, to drive consumer and corporate travel-related hospitality services into and within Japan.
Japan: On The Rise
A recently released 2017 ICCA report sees Japan in the top country rankings to maintain its first place in the Asia-Pacific region for a record number of international association meetings held. 
The strength of the upcoming Japan contingent at IT&CMA reinforces this statistic, with the scale of this year’s participation motivated, in part, by the access to quality association buyers via the show’s dedicated Association Days programme. 
Already familiar with IT&CM’s series of events and its value proposition, Fukuoka, Osaka and Sapporo, are among the destinations eager to leverage on IT&CMA as a platform to satisfy their marketing objectives for the Asia-Pacific MICE market. Meanwhile, newcomers like Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kobe, and JTB are intent on making their presence felt at IT&CMA 2018 by fervently strengthening their MICE offerings to stand out amongst other destinations.
Fukuoka and Nagasaki
Of the 6 participating cities, Fukuoka has retained second place in Japan for the largest number of international conferences held for 8 consecutive years. They top the rankings on a national level for the rate of businesses established; which means a flourishing local economy that appeals to a growing number of international associations and congresses that have chosen to hold their association events in the city.
Expressed Izumi Shimada, Director of Sales & Business Development, Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau, “Fukuoka’s MICE programmes are modelled towards offering clients a full suite of support services and subventions to customise their itineraries and event management. Our one-stop capabilities help bridge connections with the local economy to arrange site visits and exchange programmes. One of the ways we have effectively promoted the city has been through FAM trips that we have organised with IT&CM Events and are continuing to do this year.”
This has also contributed to overall growth of the prefecture, benefiting neighbouring cities like Nagasaki, who has been gaining international business events traction. The city hosted the United Nations Conference on Disarmament Issues in 2016.
Elaborated Hiroyuki Noda, MICE Promotion Manager, Promotion & Sales Department, Nagasaki International Tourism and Convention Association, “While Nagasaki provides our own subsidies for organising conventions to promote our MICE city, we also partner Fukuoka on versatile itineraries ideal for incentive tours and team building to our world heritage sites and jointly stimulate tourism.”
The newest MICE city on the block is Hiroshima, who has made Asia-Pacific its latest target market, and hopes to raise the city’s profile at IT&CMA by exhibiting alongside Fukuoka. Home to a booming automotive and aerospace manufacturing industry, companies like Mazda Motor Corporation are headquartered here. Hiroshima also attracts a large number of domestic and international tourism and events to the region for world issues conferences and biology research.
Explained Kazuhiro Tsuji, Chief Supervisor, Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau, “We hope to give buyers a deeper understanding of what Hiroshima can offer as a MICE city. We have modified our subsidy programme to tailor to a wider range of needs for international conventions and have been working closely with local stakeholders to move Team HIROSHIMA forward to attract more business events and incentive travel to the city.”
Osaka finds itself in the second largest business region in Japan – Kansai – and the birthplace of major homegrown brands such as Suntory, Asahi Kasei, Takeda Pharmaceutical, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Sharp, and Panasonic. Many corporations, universities and research institutes are situated in this regional hub, thus establishing itself as an innovation center for entrepreneurs and start -ups. 
Added Asako Shiomi, Deputy Manager, MICE Promotion Department, Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau, “Osaka has been reinventing itself to attract returning visitors especially with the formation of the Osaka MICE Business Alliance, a partnership between the bureau and private-sector organisations. The alliance seeks to enhance Osaka’s global business events competitiveness and jointly promote meetings infrastructure and advantages to buyers around the world. We are also working with IT&CMA to organise a MICE destination FAM trip for buyers at the end of the year to experience Osaka first-hand.”
Well known for its beer and a premier winter destination, Sapporo is also one of Japan’s leading districts in IT expertise and a designated City of Media Arts as awarded by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The region takes up 20% of Japan’s land area with only 5% of the population, making the island greatly untouched by extensive tourism and a frontrunner of expertise in local food production and self-sufficiency, agriculture, geosciences, arctic research, medicine and veterinary science.
Said Ayako Kurosawa, Incentive Coordinator, Sapporo Convention Bureau, “Sapporo Convention Bureau and TCEB have enjoyed a close working relationship since 2013, leading to many fruitful experiences, fresh ideas, and potential prospects through our participation at IT&CMA. Our current goals for the Asia-Pacific region targets ASEAN, Australasia and as far as the United Kingdom as Japan will host the Rugby World Cup in 2019, with Sapporo scheduled to host major matches. As such, we have been working hard to reorganise our local MICE resources, unique venues and attractions, and support programmes.”
Kobe has played a key part in Japan’s modernisation, serving as principal port and leading industrial expertise in machinery, and metalwork. In recent years, medical research in the field of regenerative medicine and disaster risk reduction research centers have taken root in the city. Visitors to Kobe can enjoy the world-famous Kobe beef, and other attractions like cruises, hot spring towns, and trips to research facilities.
Together with JTB, MICE and association buyers and media to IT&CMA 2018 will be able to take home a wealth of concrete information from these mature and upcoming cities from Japan. International events such as the 2020 Summer Olympics, Rugby World Cup 2019, 2019 G20 Summit, Tourism Expo Japan, World Buiatrics Congress, Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, Asia-Pacific Intelligent Transport Systems Forum, and more, are some of the major events slated to take place in the next 2 years.
IT&CMA 2018 will be held from 18 – 20 September 2018 at the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld. It is co-located with the CTW Asia-Pacific – The Leading Corporate Travel Management Conference for the Asia-Pacific.
For more information, log on to www.itcma.com

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