Japan is to take centre stage for the final session of the 9th WTTC Travel & Tourism Summit, against a backdrop that the country has returned to recession as a result of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Its economy has been dealt a harsher blow by the disaster than expected, contracting by 0.9 percent in the quarter ending March 30.
Consumer spending and manufacturing went into sharp reverse as thousands of homes and businesses were washed away.
Those factories not directly affected by the tsunami were ground to a halt by shortages as a result shutdown at the Fukushima nuclear site.
24,000 people are listed as either dead or missing and the total clean-up bill is estimated at £180bn.
(Delegates in the round at the 11th WTTC Travel & Tourism Summit in Las Vegas)
The impact of the natural disaster and measures that need to by the travel & tourism industry will be discussed at the WTTC Summit in Las Vegas.
Japan received 8.7 million overseas visitors and more than 16 million Japanese people travelled overseas in 2010, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Following the earthquake and tsunami, there were sharp falls in international tourist arrivals, with potential visitors from all countries reluctant to visit, according to JNTO.
In addition to this drop in visitors to Japan, the JNTO has reported that resident departures from Japan fell by 18 percent in March over 2010, representing a decline of 280,000 trips from 1.56 million to 1.28 million.
(WTTC President & CEO, David Scowsill moderates the closing session of the 11th Summit)
A high-level delegation of senior Japanese business leaders – including Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman, Toshiba – will come together in Las Vegas and describe first-hand what the events of 11 March have meant for the country, its people and the travel & tourism industry.
The session will address the twin themes of rebuilding infrastructure and confidence – what challenges lie ahead in reconstruction and how can the country reassure the world consumers that Japan is fully open for business in order to kick-start the recovery in inbound, domestic and outbound travel & tourism.
The WTTC Global Travel & Tourism Summit is taking place at the Aria Resort & Convention Centre, Las Vegas, 17-19 May 2011. To find out more visit www.globaltraveltourism.com