Report on the Second Ideathon: Introduction to the tourism industry and preparations for brainstorming session
The second Ideathon was held on May 30. This session featured an introductory lecture on the tourism industry and learning in preparation for the brainstorming session with startup managers planned for the third and fourth sessions.
Introduction to the tourism industry
Intended to convey basic knowledge about tourism needed to advance the tourism Ideathon, the Introduction to the Tourism Industry covered the current state of tourism and future prospects, based on statistical data published in the Japan Tourism Agency’s White Paper on Tourism and other sources.
The tourism industry is attracting attention as a growth industry worldwide. The number of international travelers is growing steadily around the globe, and this growth is forecast to continue.
The number of foreign travelers to Japan is growing year after year. Last year, in 2018, 31.19 million people visited Japan from overseas. A look around the world shows that a major tourist destination, such as France, the United States, and Spain, welcomes roughly 80 million overseas visitors annually. The Japanese government has set the goals of attracting 40 million foreign visitors by 2020 and 60 million by 2030.
While attention has focused on the inbound tourism market of overseas visitors to Japan, inbound tourism actually accounts for only 4.4 trillion yen, or 16.5%, of domestic travel consumption by value. Nevertheless, expectations for the inbound tourism market are high, due to low growth expectations in the domestic overnight and day-trip travel markets associated with Japan’s declining population and diversification of leisure activities. The Japanese government intends to seek increase consumption by inbound tourists from the current levels of 4.4 trillion yen to 8 trillion yen by 2020 and to 15 trillion yen by 2030.
Increasing consumption in the inbound tourism market depends both on increasing numbers of foreign visitors to Japan and increasing consumption per capita. At the same time, overtourism, or too many visitors, is becoming a concern in certain regions. There is a need to consider sustainable systems that would distribute tourists widely, rather than concentrating them in certain areas.
Learning in preparation for the brainstorming session
Following the Introduction to Tourism, group work and lectures were held to deepen understanding of business domains as preparatory studies for the next third and fourth sessions, which would welcome Yu Aoki from MATCHA Inc. and Don Lu from Nihonbishoku K.K., respectively.
Plans call for Mr. Aoki from MATCHA to discuss the appeal of Japan in the third session. As preparatory studies for this discussion, participants split into teams to consider and announce their top five things travelers should do in Tokyo.
The presentations include one team, which emphasized that not only well-established sightseeing spots like Shinjuku and Ueno but even elements of the transportation infrastructure itself, such as the Shuto Expressway and train stations, offer appealing qualities. They asserted that, branded properly, these would be capable of attracting travelers from overseas. The plans presented reflected the individuality of the teams.
In the short time remaining after these discussions, participants learned about cashless payments. According to a survey by the credit card company Visa, users of credit cards buy about 30% more than users of cash when traveling.
While promoting cashless payments is key to avoiding opportunity losses, Japan lags behind other countries in its pace of adoption of cashless payments. In 2016, 89.1% of consumers in neighboring South Korea used cashless payments; in Japan, this figure was a mere 18.4%.
In the fourth session, plans call for Don Lu of Nihonbishoku to discuss strategies for promoting adoption of cashless payments after first exploring the reasons why some stores refuse to adopt cashless payments.