The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA). The agreement, signed on the occasion of JATA Travel Showcase 2013, aims to reinforce the knowledge and positioning of the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific.
UNWTO and JATA will collaborate, among other areas, in the organization of a UNWTO session at the annual JATA Tourism Forum and Travel Showcase, the exchange of best practices, particularly the experience of Japan’s tourism recovery following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and data sharing.
UNWTO Secretary-General, Mr. Taleb Rifai, who signed the MOU with JATA’s Chairman, Mr. Jungo Kikuma, stated that “the signing of this landmark document and partnering with important and influential players in the tourism sector such as JATA is a significant step forward for UNWTO in its global efforts to promote tourism as a driving force for social and economic development.”
“We are indeed very pleased to firm up this collaborative initiative with JATA. This partnership is the first forged in Asia and the Pacific by UNWTO, a region which is growing to be the centre of gravity in tourism” said Mr. Rifai. “This is an ideal platform from which UNWTO, joining hands with JATA, would like to further our actions to advance tourism growth in the region.”
Japan has declared the aim of building the nation on tourism, considering the sector as an important pillar to revitalize its economy. The Government set as target to attract 20 million foreign visitors and have 20 million Japanese traveling abroad by 2020. The agreement between UNWTO and JATA paves the way for UNWTO to combine its efforts with JATA in support of the policy initiatives of the Government of Japan.
During his visit to Japan, Mr Rifai met Mr.Yosuke Tsuruho, Senior Vice-Minister, and Mr. Manabu Sakai, Parliamentary Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Mr. Masaji Matsuyama, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Kubo Shigeto, Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA). During the meetings the further engagement of Japan in UNWTO Programme of Work through human resource exchange programmes and the sharing of successful tourism experiences were discussed.
UNWTO is also looking forward to working closely with Japan in the areas of responsible tourism and tourism ethics following the designation of Mr. Yoshinori Hompo, former Commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency, as member of the UNWTO World Committee on Tourism Ethics.
Japan is one of the leading tourism destinations in Asia and the Pacific. In 2012, Japan received 8.4 million international visitors (34% more than in 2011) generating US$ 14.6 billion in revenues.