Souvenir Delivery, Traditional Culture Tour...New Businesses Targeting Foreign Visitors in Kyoto12 April 2016 - Business/Company
One after the other, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including IT industries, manufacturers and others, in Kyoto are entering the inbound tourism business targeting foreign visitors. Each is utilizing their own technological strengths and human resources to provide unique goods and services.
"Kyonaka GOZAN," a business group consisting of six small-and medium-sized IT companies in Kyoto City, started a souvenir delivery service this month which delivers items ordered through the Internet to affiliated hotels within 24 hours. It intends to tap into new sources of demand among foreign tourists who don’t have time to visit souvenir shops during their stay.
The group has developed an online catalogue in English and Chinese for smartphones. It collects ordered goods from makers and wholesalers, and then requests delivery by other companies.
Currently the group is affiliated with four hotels in Kyoto City. It will expand its range of merchandise, especially sundries, clothing, cosmetics and other items produced in Kyoto, and increase the number of affiliated hotels in the future. It is also considering providing an information service based on its analysis of data from orders received from foreigners.
Kyowind Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Ikuta Sankikogyo Co., Ltd., a maker of copper strip rolling machines, both located in Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, has started promoting a study tour. The company has recruited Qiao Bin from China, who serves as a Visit Kyoto Ambassador of Kyoto City, and has guided 600 students and 60 business executives from China since last spring. The tour is designed for learning traditional Japanese culture and business administration, as well as providing instruction in the way to shape sushi, classical Japanese dance, and so on. The fee for a student is more than 300,000 yen. Qiao expects positive effects, saying, "As China has no concept of school trips, the demand for tourism with the purpose of studying is huge. This will provide an impetus for Chinese to think about studying or working in Japan."
A venture company has also emerged to offer life-experience tours in farming villages in mountainous areas. Kei Nakayama, a licensed guide interpreter who moved from Tokyo to the Keihoku area in Ukyo Ward, has been providing farmhouse accommodation tours for foreign visitors since two years ago.
Visitors can stay in thatched houses and enjoy farming and cooking with the inhabitants. Promoted via the Internet and flyers, the tours are so popular that they are completely booked each and every day during spring and fall. So far, more than 500 people from Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and other regions have been accommodated.
As it is expected that the number of foreign visitors in Japan will continue increasing as the Tokyo Olympics 2020 approach, the inbound tourism business is likely to heat up even more in the future.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)