Creating more thriving communities and enabling people to enjoy more fulfilling lives with a future-oriented and global vision.
With the number of cross-border travelers (international tourist arrivals) approaching 1.2 billion, the tourism industry now accounts — either directly or indirectly — for nearly 10% of new jobs being created. We now live in a complex world where politics, economy, the environment, ideology, and technology are closely intertwined, making it hard to predict how the future will unfold. On the other hand, both the temporal and psychological distances between countries and regions have closed, and it is anticipated that the number of people traveling across borders will continue to increase. Amid this international trend, Asia has maintained the highest rate of growth, as evidenced in the current inbound tourism boom to our country.
The Japanese government has recently set a goal of welcoming 40 million tourists from abroad and generating 8 trillion yen in related consumer spending by 2020. This shows that many of the issues faced by the tourism industry now have a direct impact on the general economy, and which I believe is a sign that the industry is undergoing a major transformation, which is taking it in a totally new direction.
The widespread use of smartphones and social media, a new value system based on the idea of a shared economy, and related businesses that are being created are already having a major impact on consumer behavior. A host of players in the manufacturing and telecommunications sectors, among others, are creating new businesses based on technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), and are offering many tourism-related features. New developments of a similar nature are expected to grow both in terms of volume and speed, which should accelerate moves toward more deregulation. These observations all point to the birth of a new dynamic industry centered on tourism.
Meanwhile, regional communities must urgently take steps to enhance the appeal of what they can offer, upgrade their infrastructure for receiving tourists, and establish a viable system for area management. As the tourism industry encompasses an increasing area of activities, we are also faced with a growing need for a larger pool of more capable human resources.
With expansion and enhancement of tourism as our core vision, we at JTB Tourism Research & Consulting Co. will draw on our extensive experience and expertise to offer solutions for a wide range of businesses connected to tourism as well as develop the necessary human resources. We will maintain a future-oriented and global vision in our efforts, which will be directed toward creating more thriving communities and enabling people to enjoy more fulfilling lives.
Hajime Nozawa President and CEO