Hiroyuki Takahashi, who took office as Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) Chairman in December 2021, said at a New Year press conference, “My priority mission as JATA chairman is regeneration of tourism,” expressing his ambition to create new tourism under a new normal era, not returning to the pre-COVID-19 era.
Picking Green Transformation, sustainable tourism based on SDGs, Workcation and farm stay as new tourism contents, Takahashi said that it is crucial for travel companies to catch up with customer needs diversified in the pandemic.
JATA has started discussing establishment of a new scheme to share business management capabilities among JATA members. “COVID-19 is actually a chance to improve productivity and profitability, which are longstanding issues in the travel industry,” Takahashi said. “We need to create things and use them together. If we can share our capabilities, we still have room to improve productivity and profitability.”
Prospect to restart of tourism
JATA hopes that ‘Go To Travel’ campaign for domestic travel will be restarted right after infection cases reduce. Takahashi emphasized, “With thorough health control based on a vaccination and test package system, travel cannot necessarily become a direct factor to spread infection, which is a science-based evidence in the past two years.”
Regarding cross-border travel, JATA has requested the government of well-balanced measures to the world, as it has an idea that partial re-open of borders between Japan and low-risk countries or regions will come first.
JATA was supposed to dispatch an inspection delegation to France, Hawaii and South Korea in December 2021 and January 2022, however they were postponed due to Omicron variant. Takahashi said that the delegations will restart in an appropriate timing to break through the current deadlock.
More thorough corporate compliance
Takahashi again apologized for unfair reception of the government financial support programs, including Go To Travel last year, by JATA member companies. JATA has been inspecting each member company’s compliance, and for companies who do not have a compliance system, JATA considers making a standard compliance code and also providing a E-training program.
Takahashi said, “The travel industry as a whole has to keep corporate compliance more thoroughly and take preventive steps seriously.”