Travel-tech international conference 'WiT Japan 2023' Executive Committee talks about what topics are discussed

Travel-tech international conference ‘WiT Japan & North Asia’ will be held in Tokyo on July 5 and 6 2023 as the first face-to-face event in the past four years. Kei Shibata (Venture Republic CEO) and Aya Aso (SAVVY Collective CEO), Executive Committee members, talked about what speakers are expected to discuss in the event.

“One of features for this year’s WiT is revival of networking opportunities that have been disrupted,” Aso said. “We are committed to 100% face-to-face event, not a hybrid event, which is a great value for participants.  I am personally looking forward to listening to new perspectives from new players.” 

“I believe that a main reason why participants pay for the event is that they want networking opportunities. It is hard after all to connect each other online,” Shibata pointed out. “It will be one time live opportunity. I would like participants to take advantage of it.” 

WiT Executive Committee, Aya Aso

A discussion theme is ‘Hello, New World’

WiT founder Yeoh Siew Hoon said of this year’s theme, “With the disruptive innovations by technologies, such as Generative AI, how has the travel industry changed or how should they change in the future?” She spent more time and energy for preparation for this year’s event than before because she did not visit Japan but joined the hybrid event online lat year, even though it was the 10th anniversary for WiT Japan. 

Picking ‘diversity’ as a keyword, Shibata explained that WiT Japan 2023 aims to arrange agendas for a variety of interests in regions, topics, genders or speakers. Despite one and a half day event practically, Shibata is confident that enriched programs can be offered. 

Topics from different industries 

“WiT covers important topics from different industries that seem to affect the travel industry un the future. We will welcome a variety of speakers this time.” Aso said. Jesper Koll, Global Ambassador & Expert Director at Monex Group Japan, will talk about global finance market trends on the first day, For a diversity & inclusion session, Yukiko Muto from McKinsey & Company, Japan will be joined. 

For The New World of AI and Robotics, Yeoh Siew Hoon will discuss with Adrian David Cheok,  i-University Tokyo,

Also, Japanese leading OTAs and global OTAs, including Hopper this time, will talk about the current market trends or how they look at the future. Kenji Sunada, Kabuky Style founder, will emerge one-on-one interview as a notable business leader. 

WiT Executive Committee, Kei Shibata

Not only Japan but also Northeast Asia

WiT 2023 will also be joined by Fliggy of China, GC Group, Tidesquare and MyRealTrip of South Korea, and sessions for Taiwan and Southeast Asia will be organized, too. 

For hospitality sessions, discussions will be deepened in both operator and distribution sides, as the market trends have been changing since the pandemic happened. 

MGM Resorts Japan, which will be the first IR operator in Japan, will take about  the plans for this ambitious project which, when opened in 2029.

From a viewpoints of the inbound travel market, Kenya Katayama, Mayor of Niseko, Hokkaido, will talk about  how he sees the role of tourism as inextricably linked with its local community.

An opportunity for Japanese players to fill the gap with the world 

Shibata said, “WiT2023 will be a good opportunity for Japanese travel players to fill the gap with the world, where recovery is ahead.” AI, fintech or sustainability is already an important theme not only for specific industries, but Shibata pointed out that there are many Japanese travel players who cannot find growth strategies in the spaces. 

“We share the same challenges, holding debts in the last three years. We have to hurry to make new business strategies,” Shibata said. “It is necessary to know what happens globally. I think the global  market will tell us what technology evolution means to the travel industry.” 

“I personally want to listen to a variety of decisions by accommodations during the pandemic,” Aso said. “We will be able to share solutions for the global challenges, such as labour shortage.” 

WiT Japan & North Asia2023

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