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Travel News

Japan takes on most ambitious travel show yet

Written by Nell Alcantara

TOKYO (eTN) – Japan’s largest travel show, JATA TABIHAKU, is being here held here in the Japanese capital city beginning today, Thursday, September 12, 2013, and will run until Sunday, September 15,

TOKYO (eTN) – Japan’s largest travel show, JATA TABIHAKU, is being here held here in the Japanese capital city beginning today, Thursday, September 12, 2013, and will run until Sunday, September 15, 2013.

Organized by the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), the event has had many transformations since being introduced in 1977 as the JATA International Congress & Travel Trade Show and it ran every other year until 2003 when in 2001, in a move to help Japan become a “Tourism Nation” as was pointed out by former Prime Minister Junichi Koizumi, JATA joined forces with Travel Journal, Inc.’s World Travel Fair to operate annually as JATA International Tourism Congress & World Travel Fair, with WTF handling the consumer travel show.

According to JATA TABIHAKU organizers, the synergy afforded by the two shows being under one roof in the first year, at Pacifico Yokohama, attracted 94 countries and regions with 783 booths, thereby garnering some 91,419 visitors that was comprised of both consumers and travel trade professionals.

JATA International Tourism Congress & World Travel Fair ran for eight consecutive years through 2010 before JATA became the sole organizer of the event in 2011, when the event became known as JATA International Tourism Forum-TABIHAKU. That year, the event attracted exhibitors from 144 countries and regions (approximately 986 booths0, and setting a new record of 117,236 visitors.

JATA’s event became the most successful to date last year with 156 countries and regions participating with 1,093 booths. Again, it set a record high of 125,989 visitors.

This year, JATA has decided to rename the event as JATA TABIHAKU International Travel Show in what it calls “a move to reflect a more global posture with increased efforts to promote all sectors of Japan’s tourism industry — outbound, inbound and domestic.”

According to Adrian Mangiboyat, a member of the event secretariat, preliminary figures to date show that the numbers countries and boots are expected to surpass last year’s tallies, “underscoring JATA TABIHAKU being poised to become the premier travel show in Asia and one of the major travel and tourism industry events globally along with ITB Berlin and World Travel Mart in London.”

This year’s edition of the yearly JATA travel show has a pretty ambitious line-up, as it includes two heads from the most influential global travel and tourism organizations—Taleb Rifai, the secretaty general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and David Scowsill, the president and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Mr. Rifai has also been tapped to deliver the event’s keynote address, and then the two will be gracing JATA’s stage for the first time together when they serve as panelists in the “Today’s Current in East Asia” symposium, which will be held on September 13, 2013 at 1:30pm to 2:30pm.

UNWTO and JATA, added Mr. Mangiboyat, will sign a Comprehensive Partnership Agreement during the opening ceremony (on Sept. 13) of the event 2013, “a development that will pave the way for stronger mutual cooperation between the two organizations.”

Accorsing to JATA, the agreement will be the first ever to be signed between the two organizations. The pact is expected to indirectly “help further buoy JATA TABIHAKU as the largest travel show in Asia while poising it to become one of the top three major trade shows internationally along with ITB Berlin in Germany and World Travel Mart in London.”

The agreement, to be signed by UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai and JATA chairman Jungo Kikuma, will run from Sept. 13, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2016, with an opportunity to extend.

Under the agreement, “both sides will be able to combine efforts in tourism-related activities and joint development. It will also help enhance the role of the tourism sector through the development and promotion of the industry while maintaining international standards of practice to ensure quality and effectiveness.”

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