Media Releases

Media Releases

JNTO Hosts Luxury Famil

JNTO recently hosted an Izu, Shimoda, luxury famil with 7 agents escorted by Stephanie Sng from JNTO Sydney Office

Participants on the famil were as follows: Adam Burke, Scenic, Dorothy Chambers, World Journeys, Fanny Gibert, Renaissance Tours, D’arne Haines, Holland Clarke & Beatson (New Zealand), Wendy James, Kaleidoscopic Travel, Kerrie Kaesler, MTA, Petia Davis, Captains Choice and Stephanie Sng, JNTO

Agents were taken on the Royal Express, a luxury cruise train from Yokohama to Shimoda and Shimoda to Izu Kogen, chartered for this famil, where they were treated to French cuisine, an on-board violinist and pianist, and handcrafted sushi.

During the famil, the group experienced the hydrangeas (a native flower to Japan) in full bloom at a Hydrangea festival at Shimoda Park, visiting the Bamboo Forest of Shuzenji Onsen, staying at Arcana Izu, an Auberge-style resort located in a sacred green forest by the Kano River with each suite having a private onsen facing the river and forest, seeing two UNESCO listed world heritage sites, the Nirayama Reverberatory Furnaces and Mt Fuji, and taking part in an Edo Kiriko glass-cutting experience in Tokyo and a ‘Nerikiri’ Japanese sweet making workshop.

The tour ended with a full day of pre-matched business sessions at the Japan Luxury Showcase held at the Conrad Tokyo. The event was attended by 53 overseas buyers including those from Oceania, North America and Europe, and domestic sellers from 62 companies including luxury hotels, DMCs and experiences.

Feedback from agents

“The JNTO Luxury Famil and Showcase has been a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge on products and destinations in Japan that I knew very little about, and some I did not even know existed. It provided the platform to network, form relationships, and discuss these products. I have come home feeling inspired & excited about Japan and all the wonderful experiences that this country has to offer.” – Kerrie Kaesler

“Thanks so much to JNTO for the wonderful first time experience of Japan.   With the luxury Royal Express train journey along the Izu Peninsula and our beautiful accommodation and dining experiences along the way it truly was a trip to remember.  A big thank you for the amazing hospitality and the warm embracing culture to make this a very memorable famil and a destination of many possibilities for the future” – D’arne Haines

L-R: Peita Davis, Adam Burke, D’Arne Haines, Wendy James, Kerrie Kaesler, Fanny Gilbert, Dorothy Chambers 2nd row far right: Stephanie Sng Joined with the crew from the Royal Express

L-R: Peita Davis, Adam Burke, D’Arne Haines, Wendy James, Kerrie Kaesler, Fanny Gibert, Dorothy Chambers
2nd row far right: Stephanie Sng
Joined with the crew from the Royal Express

JNTO welcomes new Executive Director to Sydney

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has appointed Yoko Tanaka as the new Executive Director of its Sydney Office.

Tanaka has been appointed to further build on the recent successes of JNTO’s Sydney office, which encouraged more than half a million Australian tourists to visit Japan last year, a new record.

“My goal is to continue driving the remarkable growth that we have seen in recent years from Australia,” explained Yoko Tanaka, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director. “I intend to maintain the momentum by further educating Australians of the variety of things to see and do in Japan. I will also continue to raise awareness of the regional and less well known areas of Japan as well as the upcoming major sporting events including this year’s Rugby World Cup as well as Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Tanaka began working for JNTO in 1992 at the Tourist Information Center at Narita International Airport. Since then her career has encompassed a wide variety of roles with the company including Senior Director of JNTO’s Singapore office, and most recently a Manager in the Human Resources Section

Outgoing Executive Director Kana Wakabayashi will work alongside Tanaka until 12 July to ensure a smooth transition before she returns to Japan.

“During my tenure in Sydney I have been delighted to lead a team that has overseen significant visitor growth from the Australian market,” said Kana Wakabayashi. “Last year, not only was a new record set for the most number of Australian visitors ever, but Australians also became Japan’s highest spending tourists. I am very proud to have been a part of the team that helped to make this happen and would like to take this opportunity to thank our travel trade and media partners who have all supported myself and the team.

“I have no doubt that Yoko will enjoy working with the team and our partners in Australia and wish her every success in the new role,” added Wakabayashi.

JNTO appoints Julie King & Associates as New Zealand Representative

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has appointed Julie King & Associates as destination representative in the New Zealand market.

The agreement will see Julie King & Associates actively work across all facets of the travel industry including but not limited to: wholesale, retail, MICE, corporate, airline stakeholders as well as media partners in New Zealand to strengthen overall awareness of Japan as a tourist destination.

This appointment extends an existing relationship with Julie King & Associates, who have successfully delivered projects in the PR, Consulting and Research space in Australia since 2018 and have recently been re-appointed for 2019.

Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, said: “New Zealand is an important market for us and one which holds much promise, so it was important we appoint a proven, dedicated destination representative. We have a strong relationship with Julie King & Associates through our work together in Australia, and we look forward to building on this success in New Zealand.”

The destination representative mandate includes a full range of travel trade support services including but not limited to: research, destination and product training and account management for all key trade partners, event planning and acting as the primary liaison for both trade and consumer media in New Zealand.

Julie King, CEO of Julie King & Associates, said: “We’re proud to have extended our relationship with JNTO and are excited by the opportunity to raise awareness of Japan as a multi-faceted tourism destination in the New Zealand market to drive further growth. It is an exciting time for the destination with upcoming major sporting events including this year’s Rugby World Cup as well as Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and as a sport loving nation, we want to ensure we capitalise on all opportunities prior to and beyond these events”

Both Trade and Media partners can contact the New Zealand representative through the following email address [email protected]. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

JAPAN Best Incentive Travel Awards 2019


The Japan Best Incentive Travel Awards aims to recognise outstanding achievers among global meeting and incentives planners for their delivery of unique programs and experiences for incentive tours to Japan, and showcasing the attractions of Japan as an ideal incentive destination to the world.

Eligible entrants are travel agents or meeting planners based outside of Japan who have planned an incentive tour, which must have taken place between 01 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 with at least 100 pax nights (e.g. 20 pax staying 5 nights = 100 pax nights, regardless of room configuration).

Winners will be invited to Japan for an award ceremony in Osaka on 23 October 2019, followed by Visit Japan Travel & MICE Mart. Business class round-trip airfare and 3 nights of accommodation during the program will also be included!

For more details, including how to apply, please visit the official website:

Japan National Tourism Organization Hosts JAPAN ROADSHOW 2019

Representatives of Japan’s tourism industry will get together at JAPAN ROADSHOW 2019 in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland – a trade event organised by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO).

JAPAN ROADSHOW 2019 will bring together delegates from all around Japan and give attendees the latest information on regional trends. The event will also give the travel trade the opportunity to network and get direct updates from Japanese travel suppliers through one-on-one free flow business meetings.

This year JNTO has invited guest speakers for each city: Former dual international for Australian Rugby League and Japan Rugby Union Mr. Craig Wing for Melbourne, Australian Olympic Aerial Skier Ms. Jacqui Cooper for Sydney, and travel content creator Ms. Sophie Chan Andreassend for Auckland.

Lucky-draw prizes to be won include an airfare voucher to Japan.

JAPAN ROADSHOW 2019 will be held at InterContinental Hotel Melbourne on 20th May, at Hyatt Regency Sydney on 21st May, and Pullman Auckland on 23rd May 2019.


JNTO expands its target markets

As of the new financial year (1 April 2019), JNTO Sydney Office will extend its focus across the Tasman Sea to take on a more proactive role in enticing New Zealand travellers to Japan. With three major sporting events coming up in Japan, the Rugby World Cup 2019, Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, and the World Masters Games 2021, there has never been a better time to reach a nation that is especially passionate about sports.

JNTO and Japan Tourism Agency (an agency of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) will conduct preliminary promotional activity in four new secondary markets: New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with the view to add these to the list of existing primary target markets China, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Australia, USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Italy and Spain.
New Zealand saw a record number of visitors to Japan in 2018, a total of 73,208 travellers visiting the country and a 12.8% year-on-year increase from the previous year. JNTO plans to continue this positive momentum by more actively engaging and educating the market about travel opportunities in Japan.

Kana Wakabayashi, Executive Director of JNTO Sydney Office, said “New Zealand has always been a market we have wanted to expand into, especially since we have already participated in local cultural events together with the Japanese Embassy and local Consulates. Now that New Zealand has been identified as an emerging market, we hope we can make a bigger impact and actively reach potential travellers.”

Marketing activities planned for New Zealand over this coming year include BtoB seminars, exhibiting at local BtoC events and also BtoC marketing.

JNTO Sydney Office currently has a Marketing and Media tender open for agencies who are interested in working with JNTO to market in New Zealand. Please see this webpage for more information:


Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), an independent agency of the Japanese government, promotes Japan as a leisure and business destination to connect Japan to the world. Through its 21 offices worldwide, JNTO disseminates information, conducts publicity and exhibitions, supports tour development, carries out research and much more.

JNTO encourages educational visits from Australian schools with new famil programme

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has launched an innovative new programme to encourage educational visits from Australian schools to Japan. The programme will involve annual trips for Australian school body representatives to Japan, where they will visit local schools and be introduced to the breadth of cultural, adventure, sporting, historical and language learning opportunities available in Japan for Australian students.

The initiative was launched with a week-long famil involving senior staff members from seven Australian schooling groups, who met their Japanese counterparts and gained insights into various aspects of Japanese life.

“There are numerous studies showing the benefits international school trips can have for school age children. Japan is unlike anywhere else in the world, and we believe its unique culture and rich history make it a fascinating destination for Australian school trips – one that will be both educational and memorable,” explains Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director.

“By targeting Australian school leaders, and giving them a deeper understanding of the learning opportunities available in Japan, we hope to encourage educational tours for schools in the future,” said Wakabayashi.

The inaugural educational familiarisation was supported by the local governments of the Gunma and Shizuoka Prefectures, and was attended by representatives from seven Australian states and territories. Participants visited Tokyo, Gunma, Shizuoka, Kyoto and Hiroshima, and held meetings with a number of Japanese schools. Other cultural activities and inspections during the trip included Japanese archery (“kyudo”), sushi making, a farm stay, a painting workshop, a poignant visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, travelling by bullet train, as well as sightseeing in Tokyo.

JNTO encourages educational visits from Australian schools with new famil programme

Participants at Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, together with guide

Japan named fastest growing international destination for Australian travellers

New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed that Japan was the fastest growing overseas destination for Australian travellers in 2018, recording a 17 percent increase on 2017. This meant that Japan became the seventh most popular international destination for Australians, cementing more than 10 years of impressive visitor growth.

The ABS data showed 460,700 Australians travelled to Japan last year, outstripping destinations such as India, Singapore and Fiji.

“Interest in Japan from Australian travellers has been growing for some time, but we have noticed a significant increase in recent years,” said Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director. “This most recent data from the ABS supports our own findings, which showed that 2018 was a landmark year for Australians visiting Japan – they arrived in record numbers, stayed longer than almost any other nationality, plus recorded the highest spending of all international visitors. Being named as the fastest growing destination and the seventh most visited country is further confirmation of Japan’s broad appeal to Australian travellers.”

The ABS figures also showed that between 2008 and 2018, Australian visitor numbers to Japan have grown significantly by 213 percent, second only to Indonesia.

“The long-term trend has been underpinned by growth in Japan’s tourism infrastructure, which is now truly world-class, and a general increase in links between Australia and Japan. The more recent acceleration in Australian visitors numbers has been driven by new flights and increased airline capacity, favourable exchange rate conditions and an increasing recognition of the varied attractions on offer to tourists in Japan,” explained Wakabayashi.

Note to editors

JNTO’s latest figures and trends can be seen at a dedicated website. Please visit for more information.

The ABS data has been published and can be found by visiting:[email protected]/DetailsPage/3401.0Nov%202018?OpenDocument

JNTO hosts trade seminar ahead of All Nippon Airways’ Perth-Tokyo route opening

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has co-hosted a seminar for travel agents with Airport, sponsored by All Nippon Airways (ANA), ahead of the commencement of ANA’s new daily Perth-Tokyo (Narita) service, which is set to begin operations from 1 September 2019.

ANA’s Perth-Tokyo (Narita) route is the first direct air link between the two cities since 2011, and the flights are conveniently timed for travellers to fly overnight from Australia and enjoy a full day on arrival. Special introductory fares are available from ANA until 7 March.

Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, said: “The new ANA route between Perth and Tokyo comes at a perfect time for Australian travellers, who chose to visit Japan in record numbers last year. The new flights will start a matter of weeks before Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup, and through ANA’s large domestic network in Japan, the new daily services from Perth opens up a wide range of possibilities for Western Australian travellers.”

Representatives of three Japanese prefectures joined the seminar to brief agents on the attractions of their respective areas: the mountainous prefecture of Aomori; the tropical islands of Okinawa; and Hyogo, home to the cosmopolitan city of Kobe. All three areas are within easy reach of Tokyo via Japan’s world-class transport infrastructure.

National hotel chain Prince Hotels and Resorts and one of Osaka’s major attractions, Universal Studios Japan, were also represented.

Departing Perth at 9.45pm and arriving in Tokyo at 8.25am the following morning, ANA’s Perth-Tokyo flights are ideal for travellers wishing to make the most of their first day on holiday, and also those wishing to catch connections for onward travel to other Japanese destinations. Return flights leave Tokyo at 11.10am and land in Perth at 8.15pm.

Japan attracts a record number of Australian tourists in 2018

More than half a million Australian tourists visited Japan in 2018, setting a new annual record, according to the latest figures released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). New monthly Australian arrival records were set for every month of 2018, with annual visitor numbers ending the year 11.6 percent higher than 2017, a total of 552,400.

JNTO statistics also revealed that Australians were Japan’s highest spending tourists in 2018, with an average spend of 242,050 yen per person (or AUD 3,075) per visit.

The record visitor and spending figures were driven by new flights and increased airline capacity, favourable exchange rate conditions and an increasing recognition of Japan’s broad appeal as a tourist destination.

Overall, more than 31 million global visitors travelled to Japan in 2018. This was an increase of 8.7 percent from 2017.

Kana Wakabayashi, JNTO Sydney Office Executive Director, said: “Australia is now Japan’s seventh largest market for the total number of overseas visitors, and the rate of growth is really exciting. Favourable economic conditions now mean Australian dollars go further in Japan than many other currencies, and the statistics show our Australian visitors are taking full advantage to spend more yen than tourists from our other key markets such as China, Korea and the USA.”

JNTO data also showed Australian tourists are staying significantly longer in Japan than most other visitors in 2018, with an average stay of 13.2 nights, compared to the average of 9.1 nights. Longer stays were also prevalent, with 43% of Australians spending more than two weeks in Japan to take full advantage of the many destinations, experiences and attractions the country has to offer.

“We have had a great deal of support from trade professionals in inspiring travel to Japan. This, teamed with the introduction of new direct flights, increased capacity and special fare campaigns, have all helped to grow Australian visitor numbers,” added Wakabayashi.

JNTO expects the positive trend to continue in 2019 as Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup from 20 September through to 2 November across twelve cities in Japan. Looking further into the future, Japan’s tourism industry will receive boosts from major international events such as the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Kansai World Masters Games in 2021 and the World Expo in Osaka 2025.

Apart from major events, Australians are being drawn to Japan for experiences unlike anywhere else in the world. The multitude of things to do means that Japan can appeal to many different types of travellers including foodies looking to indulge in one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants; families looking to take advantage of the affordable world-class attractions; adventure seekers looking for more thrills on the slopes; nature lovers taking in some of the country’s beautiful landscape; or people immersing themselves in Japan’s rich and unique history and culture.


Note to editors: The latest figures and trends can be seen at a dedicated website for Japan tourism statistics. Please visit for more information.