SITA Optimistic After USTOA/NTA “Rediscover Japan” Tour
Following positive reports from the U.S. Department of State and the president of the Japan National Tourism Organization, SITA World Tours has seen a renewed interest in travel packages to Japan. SITA Vice President Laudie Hanou said the company has fully reinstated its tours to Japan.
Hanou recently served as the delegation leader of the U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) on a seven-day Re-Discover Japan tour hosted by the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) and Japan Travel Agency (JTA), June 20-27 for members of both USTOA and NTA. Reflecting on the experience, she said, “It enabled us to see the destination first hand after the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear events. It strategically provided Tour Operators a forum to speak with JNTO and JTA, as well as to multiple key Japan suppliers, about how best to support the rebuilding efforts for the U.S. market back to Japan.”
Hanou said the delegation was impressed by the quick recovery of the key components of the tourism infrastructure, including the airports and train system. Hanou said her overall impression was, “Fantastic. It is a dynamic country filled with interesting and welcoming people that are steeped in culture. It is important that the awareness of all that Japan has to offer is made to the traveling consumer especially now after the devastation of [the earthquake and nuclear disaster of] 3/11. My impression of Japan, out of all the Asian countries, is that it has a unique offering - from its industrious people, its contrast in cities and nature, its mix of traditional and modern - all lend to an experience that any educated traveler would thoroughly enjoy.”
SITA said it has evaluated every aspect of its programs in terms of customer comfort, safety and the company’s overall ability to deliver an outstanding experience. Hanou said the company is satisfied it can show its clients the vibrant and dynamic side of Japan with no compromise to safety. She acknowledged, however, that it will take time to change the perception of American travelers, following these historical events.
On May 16, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs issued a Travel Alert that confirmed the safety of travel to Japan. In key cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Hakeone, daily life has resumed with most major attractions, transport and tourism services. SITA is currently offering various packages to Japan, including: Affordable Japan — eight days/seven nights that begin in Tokyo and include Mt. Fuji & Hakone, Nagoya, Magome, Tsumago and Kyoto. Japan’s Scenic Vistas — six days/five nights that include Tokyo, Mt. Fuji and Hakone and a Nara Excursion. Tokyo: Window to Japan — four days/three nights focusing on Tokyo, Mt. Fuji and Hakone. For information, visit www.sitatours.com.