More than 70 members from Travel Leaders Network recently returned from the organization’s 19th annual International Summit in Kyoto, Japan. In partnership with the Japan National Tourism Organization, Travel Leaders Network owners and managers, along with their guests, had the opportunity to experience the destination from April 27-30, 2018. This year’s International Summit attracted 74 attendees, including Travel Leaders Network President Roger E. Block.
The summit started on April 27, with a reception and dinner at Sodoh Higashiyama. This venue is the 1920s residence of master Japanese painter Seiho Takeuchi. Attendees also had multiple options for guided exploration of Kyoto, with highlights including a visit to Gion, which is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, exploring the Nishiki Market and Nishijin Textile Center, eating seasonal foods and Kyoto specialties, and more.
This year’s International Summit in Kyoto offered opportunities for Travel Leaders Network owners and managers to network with their peers, headquarters executives and select supplier partners.
The summit took place as Japan is gearing up for a major tourism push ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. In a recent interview, Ryoichi Matsuyama, president of the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), told Travel Agent that the country is planning to promote local experiences aimed at attracting a bigger slice of the luxury travel market. The centerpiece of the effort is the “Enjoy My Japan” global marketing campaign, which aims to expand Japan’s appeal beyond the traditional images of historical and cultural attractions to include other “passion points” like cuisine, nature, city relaxation, art and outdoor activities.
Suppliers are also beefing up their Japan offerings, including Adventures by Disney, which just announced a new itinerary to Japan as part of its 2019 offerings. The trip will include visits to historic shrines and temples; a samurai swordsmanship and maiko dance demonstration; and opportunities to bike through the countryside, engage with local artists and take part in activities like sushi- and bento box-making.
In addition to the Japan National Tourism Organization, other sponsors for the International Summit included: AIG, Context, Delta, Globus family of brands, GOGO Vacations, Norwegian Cruise Line, Travelport, and Westin Hotels & Resorts.