Europe Travel Commission vitalizes the Japan market for sooner recovery, appealing sustainable tourism through gastronomy or railway travel

Europe Travel Commission (ETC) has been developing promotions in Japan to recover Japanese tourists to Europe as soon as possible since the Japan office was opened in 2021. ETC Executive Santander visited Japan in October last year to join Tourism EXPO Japan 2023, and ETC has developed BtoC campaign on SNS called ‘Europe Invites the Curious’ since 2022. 

In December this year, ETC plans to a business meeting event for travel companies in Japan, working together with tourism authorities of European countries. 

It is true that there still are several challenges in traveling between Japan and Europe, such as longer flights, higher airfares, economic difficulties or shortage of seats on flights departing from Japan. The latest ETC survey, however, finds that travel ambition to long-haul destinations is up 5% in 2024. Koichi Numata said, “That is a good sign for Europe.” ETC has forecasted that Japanese travelers to Europe will fully recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2025. 

“Europe is not actually an easy-to-go destination for Japanese people,” Akira Nishiyama, Regional Manager Asia at German National Tourist Office, said. “But, we have seen a new trend of more spending by Japanese travelers than before.” 

The ETC survey finds that 28% of Japanese travelers hope to travel to Europe with partners, and 22% traveling alone, and more people answered that they will travel for one to two weeks. 


Sustainable tourism is essential

Nishiyama also pointed out that Europe as a whole is trying to decentralize travel seasons and promote railway travel to avoid so-called over-tourism. Citing Hallstatt in the central part of Austria as an example, Nicole Kirchmeyr, Representative Japan at Austrian National Tourist Office, said, “Hallstatt counts on revenue from tourism, and we are trying to boost demand in off-seasons and appeal unknown tourist attractions in the destination.” 

“It is necessary for the travel industry to think about sustainability more seriously even though prices are higher,” Frederic Mazenq, Director Japan at Atout France, said. “For sustainable tourism, farm-to-table gastronomy can be a strong tourism content, which is also good to increase repeaters.” 

Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) plans to restart ‘100 tasty cities in Europe ‘ promotion, which has been suspended since the pandemic happened. 

Nishiyama said, “Each of European countries is basically rival, but its is essential for us to work together to attract interests in Europe from Japanese people.” France and Finland, for instance, plan to organize a joint FAM tour. 

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