Tourism Strategy Study Group
The 4th Tokyo Tourism Strategy Study Group:Mr. Yuichiro Kohno, Director and Executive Managing Officer of Mori Building Co., Ltd.
The fourth Tokyo Tourism Strategy Study Group was held on Thursday, July 12, 2018. Mr. Yuichiro Kohno, Director and Executive Managing Officer of Mori Building Co., Ltd., spoke on the theme of “Towards more attractive urban tourism,” followed by discussion among participants from member companies.
At the opening of his lecture, Mr. Kohno mentioned the fact that Tokyo was ranked 3rd in the 2017 Global Power City Inde[A1] x compiled by the Institute for Urban Strategies, the Mori Memorial Foundation[A2] . He said, “Tokyo overtook Paris in 2016 and rose to the 3rd place. Comparing to the cities ranked higher (London and New York), Tokyo is weak in the aspects of “cultural exchange” and “traffic accessibility”, which need to be improved”. He then presented his recommendations for improving charms in urban tourism based on the following 6 viewpoints.
In the Q&A session after the lecture, participants had a lively opinion exchange, posing questions on various issues such as Mori Building’s corporate philosophy in urban development, urban promotion, activation of nighttime economy, and vacation rentals (minpaku).
(1) Utilization of roads, parks and other public spaces
・When holding events or displaying advertisements, it is required to obtain permissions from the authorities (local municipalities, police, and others) based on Road Act, Outdoor Advertisement Act, and other laws and regulations.
・The above activities are feasible with special provisions on the laws and regulations, but there is no integrated movement.
・Even if succeeding to obtain permission, it would be difficult to exhibit dynamic performances due to too many restrictions.
・You are not allowed to set up some kind of installations or to hold events in parks without exclusive permission given by the park supervisor designated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government or Ward Offices.
・There aren’t too many legal restrictions thus in many cases getting permission from the park supervisor should be enough, however, it is hard to get the permission itself.
1. Deregulate Road Act and other laws in integrated manner as to the planning of regional development, culture promotion, and rebuilding of disaster-hit areas.
→ Widely utilizing public spaces will make dynamic performances possible.
2. Invite ideas from the public on park management to utilize the whole park area.
→ From “parks open to everyone, but attract no one” to “parks that create festivity and attract everyone.”
(2) Improving cultural facilities/Utilizing temporary buildings
・Comparing to other countries, number of theatres, concert halls, and other cultural facilities is smaller.
・Many of concert halls in Tokyo are closed due to deterioration and being rebuilt.
・People use cultural facilities mainly on weekends.
・Buildings that changed their purpose of usage could become disqualified.
・Improving and operating cultural facilities, which are an important factor in urban tourism, is not as profitable as other businesses.
・Though there are attractive cultural facilities, they are failing to become strong points in urban tourism, because there is little incentive for businesses in improving and operating them.
1. Expanding the term of validity for use of temporary buildings (from 1 year to 3 years). Simplifying procedures.
2. Utilizing existing facilities
3. Setting up support measures for establishing and operating cultural and sports facilities
4. Expanding preferential treatment for donation or in tax system related to events held at cultural and sports facilities[A3]
5. Establishing system for enabling various changes in usage, while ensuring security, and simplifying procedures
(3) Urban activation by finding and emphasizing cities’ and towns’ attractive features.
・Looking at areas around the main stations of regional cities and towns, they are failing to express their “individual attractive features”. For example, people don’t distinguish the areas around Kyoto station from the one around Akita station.
・Urban development maximizing attractive features and characteristics of the cities or towns
(4) Improving convenience of traffic and access.
・Tokyo is weaker in airport access comparing to other tourist-advanced cities. It is urgently needed to improve accesses from the airports to the city center.
・There is a mismatch between audiences who want to enjoy theater after work at around 20:00 p.m. or later and the theaters that want their curtain time latest at 19:00 p.m. for their staffs’ commuting.
1. Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Government should strengthen partnership in order to improve the airport accesses for Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport at early stage for the better urban tourism.
2. Late night operation of public transports
・Extending operation time of JR, private company and underground trains for one or two hours into midnight (at least on weekends).
・Extending operation time on traffic into midnight in the area inside JR Yamanote Line for the convenience of foreign tourists. Encouraging share-ride taxis.
・For suburban areas, increasing midnight busses. Train companies to operate more on other companies’ existing lines.
(5) Securing reassurance and safety
・Establishing “reassurance in the area” by maximizing existing neighborhood associations, shopping avenues, area management groups, etc. For example, tourist police, Minato City Safety Patrol[A4] , Roppongi Hills support crew[A5] .
・Tourists collect information prior to their travels mostly from the Internet and friends[A6] , and or by word-of-mouth.
1. Permission of photographing in museums and other public facilities
→Permitting photographing displayed items at museums will encourage visitors disseminating information on SNSs, which would result in attracting more visitors.
2. Disseminating information to match characteristics and needs of tourists.
→Now that travel styles are diversified, transmission of information also needs to be diversified to match the needs of travelers (In the past, guide books and pamphlets were the main source of information gathering, while SNSs, videos, and personal blogs are the main source of information in these days. That way, the contents of information are diversified too).