Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, today met with the Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, who is leading a visit of influential travel trade contacts.
The Japanese Embassy has developed an interest in working with Wales and has strong relations with the leading Japanese operator, JTB and with airlines JAL and ANA. They have identified the high-end market of their related programmes as being an opportunity for Wales.
During their two day tour of Wales the group will visit Cardiff and mid Wales and will take in sights such as Cardiff Castle; Big Pit; the Wales Millennium Centre; National Museum Cardiff as well as the Penderyn Distillery.
North Wales came in to the lime-light in 2015 as The Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) chose Conwy as one of the 30 prettiest places in Europe which spurred joint promotion of Wales and Conwy by Welsh Government, JATA and local partners.
Celtic English and North Wales Tourism have been awarded funding through Visit Wales’ Tourism Product Innovation Fund to target the Japanese market by building on the existing JATA relationship and targeting key sporting events – Rugby World Cup 2019 and 2020 Olympics – to raise the profile of Wales in Japan through sports, education, heritage and culture.
Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said:
“It was an excellent opportunity to meet this group led by the ambassador today as they start on their tour of Wales. Familiarisation visits for influential overseas tour operators are extremely important in helping us grow the numbers of overseas visitors to Wales and our share of the overseas visitors coming to the UK.
“The increased profile for Conwy in Japan following the award by JATA in 2015 was an excellent platform for us to promote Wales in a relatively untapped market and to spread the word on what Wales has to offer. The industry in North Wales has embraced the opportunity to attract more visitors from the market and is looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the area - spreading the interest and benefits to other areas of Wales is the next step.”
“Cardiff is a world class sporting destination and tourism destination, with an excellent accommodation offering in the city and the surrounding area. From Summer 2018, Qatar Airways route into Cardiff will provide an additional entry point to Wales from Tokyo via Doha. Wales will be working with leading Japanese operators to make them aware of this new route.
“We look forward to working with the embassy and travel trade partners in the future to grow the number of visitors to wales from Japan.”
Japanese Ambassador, Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, said:
"Wales and the Cardiff Bay area are very vibrant, with impressive buildings and architecture. This, combined with the culture and heritage of Wales is very appealing to Japanese visitors. I’m delighted that I can bring airline managers to Wales as part of the delegation in the hope that we can bring more visitors to Wales in the future. It was good to meet with the Cabinet Secretary and we both agreed that the Rugby World Cup in 2019 provides an excellent opportunity to build on the relationship between Wales and Japan.”