Tourism Strategy Study Group
The Second Tourism Strategy Study Group: Mr. Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman of the Board of JTB Corp.
On Thursday, May 17, 2018, Tokyo Metropolitan University held the second Tourism Strategy Study Group. The Group invited Hiromi Tagawa, Chairman of the Board of JTB Corp., who delivered a lecture entitled “Changing the World with Tourism!" Following the lecture, Mr. Tagawa had discussions with the Group participants.
Born in Tokyo in 1948, Mr. Tagawa graduated from the Keio University Faculty of Business and Commerce in 1971 and joined Japan Travel Bureau Inc. (name changed to JTB Corp. in 2001). He was engaged in sales for individual travelers, travel arrangement for foreign visitors and intermediary service at the Beppu branch and subsequently handled planning and contracts at the domestic travel division of the head office. Mr. Tagawa served in a number of important positions after that and was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of the company in 2014. He concentrates his efforts on nurturing of human resources in the tourism industry through trainings held by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Japan Tourism Agency as well as lectures at universities, while working on evolving the company's business domain from travel to exchange/culture to reinvigorate local communities across Japan. Mr. Tagawa is also active as the Vice Chairman of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), known as an organizer of the Davos meeting of the tourism industry. In March 2018, he published a book titled “Kanko Senshinkoku Wo Mezashite (Aiming to become a leading tourism nation) from the CHUOKEIZAI-SHA, Inc., in which he proposes what the tourism industry should be in the future by superimposing the history of Japanese tourism industry, which he has observed since the early 1970s, on the 100 years of JTB's history.
In his lecture, he focused on “global trends in tourism," “the post-Olympic role of travel agencies," and the “type of human resources sought." He used data and past experiences to explain why, even though it leaped to the fourth in Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by World Economic Forum (WEF), Japan still has room to improve in individual items such as ranking related to “natural resources," where it is weak, and why it is still lagging leading tourism nations in MICE, unique venues, initiatives on SDGs and ICT development. He also discussed the challenges faced by DMOs across Japan. In explaining “human resources sought," he emphasized the need for having “planters," who can create business with high ability to execute operations, and “cultivators," who can carve open the business with new ideas, instead of “harvesters," who only reap the fruits. Also, he called upon the audience to think of travel's positioning in lifestyle as not coming after food, clothing and shelter, but as “travel is life, life is travel" and to think of food, clothing and shelter from the perspective of travel.