Message from the President
More than three years have passed since the onset of COVID-19. In Japan, wearing a face mask has become a personal choice and we are seeing a rapid recovery of socioeconomic activities, including increased domestic travel and inbound tourism. On a global scale, it is expected that both corporate interaction and personal activity will be significantly increased in the future.
However, these changes are not related solely to economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. Many interrelated factors are affecting Japan and the rest of the world, forcing us to adapt in a dynamic way to the complexity the world now faces. These factors include mounting tensions in the international community; the yen’s continued depreciation; soaring prices of natural resources; initiatives to achieve decarbonization and realize the sustainable development goals (SDGs), due to heightened environmental awareness; and an increased demand for respect for diversity.
Having said that, no matter how much change the world undergoes, tourism remains invaluable to our lives, and even in this age of uncertainty, we believe the tourism industry is resilient enough to withstand adversity and will achieve recovery. True to this conviction, JTB Tourism Research & Consulting, as a think tank specializing in the tourism industry, aims to best serve its customers by flexibly accommodating the changes brought by today’s world.
There is a famous saying by French novelist Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This epitomizes what tourism is all about, and sheds light on what we should focus on in building the industry’s future.
The pandemic resulted in remarkable advancements in both digitization and digital transformation which reshaped many areas of our lives, including the way we communicate, work, and consume goods. It also led to the emergence of innovative products and services (“tools”), and people are becoming comfortable with the new “landscape” that those tools have created. As time progresses, more new tools will be added to the landscape to make our lives more convenient, but whether or not they are the best products and services for our customers is a separate issue. Rather than introducing new tools merely for the sake of innovation, we must carefully examine their usefulness and determine whether they are things which help us evolve. In the end, we may conclude that, “We shouldn’t be introducing something simply because it’s novel,” and that could well be a wise decision. Helping our customers achieve their goals does not always require new tools. Existing ones, viewed through “new eyes,” may lead us to the right solution. I think this is the implication of the “real voyage of discovery” in the Proust quote.
In June 2022, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of our founding. We owe this milestone to our customers and all those involved in both community and social tourism.
Our vision for the future is to proactively capitalize on various circumstances stemming from the pandemic, and take the entire tourism industry to a new height where ingenuity flourishes, so that in later years tourism will be viewed as a “resilient industry that grew leaps and bounds as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.” Because there is no end to the real voyage of discovery, we’d like to continue the journey with you, focusing on our mission as a tourism think tank to be your “new eyes,” and carefully watch day-to-day changes in the world so as to serve you in the best way possible.
We are committed to enriching people’s lives and their communities. For our endeavors, I would like to sincerely request your continued goodwill and support.
Yoshihito Kazama President and CEO