Practical Tourism Study and Field Trips
Report on Second Practical Tourism Studies Tour / Hiroaki Fujii, Mitsubishi Estate Co., Ltd.
On December 10, 2018, the Second Practical Tourism Studies Tour was held in Tokyo’s DMO TOKYO Marunouchi. This session began with a presentation by Hiroaki Fujii of Mitsubishi Estate on urban development in Tokyo’s Marunouchi area and the DMO TOKYO Marunouchi initiative. This was followed by a tour of Tokyo Kaikan with representatives of participating companies. The day’s activities are reported below.
Urban development based on an organization for public-private partnerships
DMO Tokyo Marunouchi was formed by 20 organizations that own or operate meeting, incentive, conference, and exhibition (MICE) facilities or unique venues, intended to promote efforts to attract urban MICE business. With the nonprofit Otemachi-Marunouchi-Yurakucho (OMY) Area Management Association (commonly called Ligare) serving as secretariat, participating organizations work together with a focus on efforts to attract MICE business by improving hospitality throughout Tokyo’s Marunouchi area. On November 8, 2018, a Marketing Suite opened in the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building to serve as a base for distributing DMO Tokyo Marunouchi information.
In a presentation on the theme of “Efforts to attract MICE business to the OMY area,” Hiroaki Fujii of Mitsubishi Estate spoke on various topics, including establishing organizations for public-private partnerships in area redevelopment, the background of building an area MICE structure for the OMY area, verifying model projects, and the strengths of DMO Tokyo Marunouchi.
He described how the Council for Area Development and Management of Otemachi, Marunouchi, and Yurakucho was initially formed in 1988 to help build consensus among landowners involved in redevelopment and urban development.
The Advisory Committee on Otemachi-Marunouchi-Yurakucho Area Development was established in 1996. With a membership consisting of the Council for Area Development and Management of Otemachi, Marunouchi, and Yurakucho, Chiyoda Ward, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and the East Japan Railway, it formulated Urban Development Guidelines to advance urban development suited to central Tokyo through public-private cooperation and coordination.
In terms of tangible outputs, the goals of these guidelines include developing underground pedestrian networks, building attractive scenery and streetscapes, and improving public spaces.
In terms of intangibles, they stress community development activities. In 2002, the nonprofit OMY Area Management Association (Ligare) was established to advance practical area management activities.
Since the publication of the first edition in 2000, the Urban Development Guidelines have been revised four times: in 2005, 2008, 2012, and 2014. The 2014 Guidelines were the first to identify the goal of leveraging the OMY area’s potential to develop it as a MICE location in central Tokyo, part of efforts to promote urban tourism in the area.
Background of the development of a MICE structure
Efforts began in 2012, spurred by the Annual Meeting of the IMF. Then, during the International Bar Association meeting in Tokyo in 2014, the streets were closed in a trial program and space provided for coffee breaks during intervals in the meeting using tables set up in the streets.
In 2015, the OMY area was designated as a national strategic special zone. The hours in which automotive traffic is restricted were expanded, and utilization of streets was facilitated. In 2016, businesses such as street cafes and food trucks began operating on street spaces, various events were held, and advertising and other measures were implemented. In 2017, full-scale efforts to use public spaces were launched.
The process of building the DMO organization is summarized below.
2015: Potential study and liaison conference held
2016: Website launched and preparatory meetings held
2017: DMO established
It has now initiated marketing activities as DMO.
A wide range of model projects in public spaces
It also engages in efforts to use public spaces, including pedestrian zones called Urban Terrace, venue for various activities; radio calisthenics; tug-of-war matches; sprinkling water on the street on hot days; and the Tokyo Marunouchi Bon dance event.
In 2013, before the start of this model program to use public spaces, events were held on 28 days of the year. Since the model program began in 2014, the number of days featuring one event or another is said to be increasing from year to year.
In addition, the volume of activities has increased considerably since the start of Urban Terrace activities in 2015. Nearby landowners and businesses are also making growing use of these activities.
The practical activities of DMO Tokyo Marunouchi include liaison conferences held once every two months. DMO Tokyo Marunouchi operates a website the provides information on all member facilities, handles Fam Trip activities, develops unique services such as an introduction to the Japanese kikicha experience for foreigners, helps build and expand networks, and participates in business meetings in Japan and around the world to promote the area.
The strengths of DMO Tokyo Marunouchi
Mr. Fujii identified two strengths of DMO Tokyo Marunouchi. The first is its capacity to deploy activities across the entire area, thanks to the OMY Area Management Association’s ability to use public spaces. The second is its capacity to bring together more than 4,000 businesses and shops through the power of the OMY Area Management Association’s network.
Proactively participating in business meetings in Japan and around the world to build business relationships
A question-and-answer session followed the presentation.
One individual asked whether DMO actively engaged in activities to attract MICE business. Mr. Fujii replied that DMO proactively participates in business meetings in Japan and around the world to build business relationships so that meeting planners who plan MICE activities recognize it as a contact point for the area.
Following the presentation, participants toured Tokyo Kaikan. Closed for reconstruction since the end of January 2015, the facility reopened in January 2019, after the tour, as the lower floors of the Marunouchi Nijubashi Building, formed through the reconstruction of three office buildings: the Fuji Building, the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry Building and the Tokyo Kaikan Building. Participants toured the interior of the building, mainly the Rose Room, the largest banquet hall in the Marunouchi district, with seating capacity for up to 2,000, before it opened to the public.