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WTM: JNTO works with operators on new campaign

The Japan National Tourism Organisation will undertake its largest marketing campaign next year as it targets 10 million visitors per year by 2010.

The Yokoso! Japan – Visit Japan Year 2010 campaign will start this month with the launch of vjy2010.jp, a global website aimed at consumers in key markets including the UK.

Although the budget for Visit Japan 2010 has not yet been released, JNTO deputy director Ayako Itagaki said: “Our new government has shown an interest in attracting more foreign tourists, so I am sure our budgets will increase.”

In January, JNTO’s London office will launch its first major collaboration with a UK tour operator.

The organisation will sponsor a large-scale national print and online press advertising campaign to win a Virgin Holidays trip for two to Japan.

Itagaki said: “We would like Japan to be seen as a more mainstream destination and working with UK tour operators will help with this.”

The JNTO will also run a London Underground advertising campaign with Finnair to promote the airline’s indirect flights to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya via Helsinki.

Although these indirect flights add three hours to the journey time of direct flights, they can save tourists over £200 and give the option of regional departures.

January will also see a refresh of the JNTO website seejapan.co.uk, including a new section dedicated to travel agents and a revamp of its online training module.

The updated version will be lighter on text and offer more opportunities for agents to win fam trips to Japan.

The JNTO will promote the Japanese Alps in the UK for the first time, in response to consumer desire to discover the ‘real’ Japan.

These rural areas will offer tourists an alternative to the large Japanese cities. They will be able to stay in traditional inns, eat local food and take hot spring baths indigenous to Japan.

In 2009 major tour operators such as Funway Holidays, Thomson and Hayes and Jarvis started offering tours in Japan. Despite slow bookings this year, the JNTO reports a promising level of interest for 2010.

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