Japan

It is well-known that Japan has put forth an ambitious outbound tourism encouraging program. Its main objective was reaching 30 million outbound Japanese tourists a year. Therefore Japan’s tourism market looks quite promising for inbound tourism in Russia, especially considering geographical conditions. The Non-profit Partnership of International Tourism Integration «World without Borders» is promoting Russia’s national tourist product on the Japanese market. This work consists ion particular in preparing unified Russian national stands on international tourism exhibitions like JATA in Tokyo, organizing presentations, working on the receiving end of fam trips to Russia, providing Japanese periodical and other titles with texts and photos on Russia.

Our Association has established a cordial partnership with the JATA and JNTO tourist organizations through the last 6 years.

Each year the “World Without Borders” Association compiles the unified Russian national stand for the JATA World Travel Fair in Tokyo and organizes its work. Bilateral business meetings on developing mutual tourism in Russia and Japan are held during the work of the Travel Fair. Presentations on St Petersburg as a low season destination, cruises on Russian rivers and ecological tourism potential in Russian regions hold most of Japanese partners’ interest.

An agreement was reached to conduct regular sessions of the Russian-Japanese JATA-“World Without Borders” Cooperation Committee, as well as to open several regional offices thereof: one in the European part of the Russian Federation (St Petersburg), and two in the Asian part (Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk). Right now work is underway to create such offices. The Neva tour operating company is the curator in St Petersburg, Olympia-Reisen-Siberia in Novosibirk and Intour-Khabarovsk in Khabarovsk.

In 2008 the “World Without Borders” Association along with its associated tour operating companies took part in the reception of Japanese travel agencies representatives in Moscow and Irkutsk region. In June 2009 a familiarization trip to St Petersburg was organized for Japanese tour operating companies by the “World Without Borders” Association in cooperation with the “Academservice” travel agency.

Aside from a presentation of Russia’s united national stand within the framework of the JATA-2009 travel fair, organized by the “World Without Borders” Association, a joint meeting of Russian tour operating companies-member of the Association with leading Japanese travel agencies’ representatives.

In 2010 the third session of the Russian-Japanese tourism conference took place in the Federal Agency for tourism of the Russian Federation. The “World Without Borders” Association took part in its work. The conference’s main topics of discussions were: mutual tourism exchanges between Russia and Japan, tourism personnel training and bettering the tourism environment to promote further tourism exchange development.  

Russian and Japanese tourist community representatives have come to the conclusion about the main points in developing mutual tourism exchange. They are: visa formalities simplification, ensuring tourists safety, tourism personnel training (more importantly training of tourist guides) and, of course, national tourism products and destinations promotion, creating a Russian version of the Japanese official website on tourism and a Japanese version of the Russian official website.

The “World Without Borders” Association work on the Japanese destination allowed us to find out certain patterns and trends. For example, Japanese tourists normally prefer traveling to Moscow and St Petersburg, visiting the cities of the “Golden Ring”, traveling to the Baikal and Kamtchatka. A rise of interest towards events tourism should be noted. Russian and Japanese tour operating companies point out a steady demand for travels to monuments linked to world famous Russian scientists, cultural luminaries, artists, musicians and sportsmen. The Japanese tourists are mostly interested in sports events, musical, arts and ethnical festivals taking place in our country.

In 2011 a representative office of the “World Without Borders” Association was opened in Tokyo. Our Japanese partners from JATA have pointed out many times that this is an effective tool for attracting tourists to Russia, since there’s not nearly enough information on Russia as a tourist destination in Japan.

In January 2012 Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries have signed an Agreement that simplifies business visa receipt. Its purpose is developing tourism and business relations between the two countries. Now Japanese citizen have the right to apply for a 90 days business visa without getting a written invitation from the Russian side. Also this agreement provides for multivisa validity prolongation for Japanese citizens traveling to Russia with non-touristic purposes to three years (used to be one year). Unfortunately these simplifications will not be available to tourists; only businessmen, artists and students will benefit from the easier procedure.