The first part of the 12th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, organised by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in association with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), exceeded all expectations in terms of delegate attendance, local and international interest.
“We could not have come here at a more important time,” Anita Mendiratta, Sendai Summit anchor said. “One year ago, the disaster became a main focus of the world’s attention. But the world’s media and public came together in a show of solidarity. The Japanese people have shown strength of spirit and dignity.”
Mitsutake Otsuka, Vice Chairman, Japan Host Committee said the decision by WTTC to hold part of its Summit in Sendai will have a profound impact on the Japanese economy, especially since the dynamism of Travel & Tourism has been used to drive economic recovery. “I just want to say to you that Japan is alive and kicking,” he noted.
Martin Craigs, CEO of Pata said : “It’s a particular pleasure and privilege to be here to represent PATA. We have been working very closely since last year’s tragedy in support of PATA’s Japan Chapter, which first opened in 1962”.
A warm welcome from Masato Takahashi, Chairman of the Tohoku Tourism Promotion Organisation. “We are very grateful to WTTC for choosing Japan and, in particular, Sendai City for its Summit”. One year after the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, most of the region is open for tourism, including all hotels, except for the coastal region. But demand is down due to perceived problems, especially regarding false rumours concerning possible contamination from the nuclear power accident.
“Tohoku Province accounts for around 10% of population of Japan and is well known for the beauty of its nature – especially its hot springs, delicacies of land and sea. It is a destination for all seasons,” Takashi-san said.
One year on from Great East Japan earthquake, reconstruction still has some way to go but, according to Mr Takahashi, full recovery is expected by the end of this year. Reconstruction will be supported by Y200 trillion (US$220 billion) funding from the government.