Breaking Travel News interview: Ito Tatsuya, marketing, Lotte Arai Resort
Having been recognised as one of the best ski hospitality providers anywhere on earth by World Ski Awards, Breaking Travel News here chats with Ito Tatsuya from Lotte Arai Resort to find out more
Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on your recognition as Japan’s Best Ski Resort at the World Ski Awards. Can you tell us how it feels to have won this prestigious honour?
Ito Tatsuya: I am very happy to receive such a prestigious award.
When I spoke with my boss, we decided to give this award our first try, and although it was a difficult process from application to winning this award, we are very happy to have won it.
We are a very young resort ski area; this is our fourth season since our grand opening in 2017.
Compared to the leading resorts in Japan, we are inferior in terms of the number of users, name recognition and brand power in many areas, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff who have continued to do what they can from the start-up to this point in operation and marketing.
I would also like to thank all the Lotte Arai Resort fans around the world who have supported us as young and inexperienced ski resorts.
BTN: How useful are the World Ski Awards trophies when it comes to promoting Lotte Arai Resort to the global ski community?
IT: In the ski resort business, we understand that it is very difficult to make a comparative ranking with other companies.
There are ways to compare simply by the number of visitors and sales, or by the number of runways and trails, but is it the reputation of the resort to say that it is superior to others?
What do customers want? How rewarding and satisfying are your employees? How well do you work with local businesses and municipalities?
We believe that a combination of internal and external factors should be used to select the best resorts, and this award was the perfect opportunity.
Voters included skiers and snowboarders from all over the world, as well as competitors, clients, individuals and, of course, our own employees.
All the numbers were judged by the world to be excellent, so we are truly the best in Japan, both in name and in substance.
This will be a great added value for our branding in the future, and will affect many aspects of our business.
BTN: Can you tell us a little about the Lotte Arai Resort? What is it that makes it so special to voters at the World Ski Awards?
IT: The biggest factor is the value of the free riding zone (uncompressed snow area) that we are able to offer due to the heavy snowfall environment with an average annual snowfall of 1,800cm.
The amount of snowfall and quality of snow in this small island country is something the world can be proud of.
We are located in an area with heavy snowfall, where the trees are buried underneath the snowpack and the snow is so thick that it allows us to safely open up our large free riding zone to all our customers.
Of course, this would not be possible without the hard work of our mountain team, including the avalanche forecasters and their patrols, who work tirelessly in the field to ensure that the conditions are as safe as possible for all of our guests.
BTN: How would you describe the market for ski tourism in Japan in 2020? Is there hope for a recovery next year as vaccines are discovered from Covid-19?
IT: The influence of Covid-19 is truly astounding and has had a huge impact on our business.
This season will be a tough one for us, but we cannot keep looking down.
This is the time to do what we can do now, one thing at a time, to prepare ourselves to be the first platform of choice when demand picks up.
We feel that we are starting to see a gradual recovery in demand, however, the restrictions on physical visits to Japan are unavoidable, and we hope that we will be able to provide our customers from abroad with the best possible timing when the restrictions are lifted.
However, with an estimated six million skiers and snowboarders in Japan, we are not concerned about domestic demand at all, and bookings are doing very well due to the government’s GoTo Travel Campaign.
When Covid-19 is over worldwide, we will be ready to make sure that everyone around the world can enjoy the experience with more peace of mind than ever before, so please stay tuned for more to come.
Lotte Arai Resort awaits ski tourism enthusiasts amid a scenic landscape of mountains stretching outward to the ocean from Mount Myoko.
All 257-rooms at the resort are open to both long and short-stay guests.
On site there are 15 ski courses, as well as first-class leisure activities, with guests offered the chance to indulge in eight areas of ungroomed snow, spas, pools and restaurants.
Find out more on the official website.