Missed connections: Japan inbound tourism campaigns

Isabell Handler, Noriko Ito


The concept of a governmental or a semi-government office fostering the development of tourism in an economy is a well established practice in both developed and developing countries (Kotler, 2006). However, within the Japanese context, the 2nd largest economy, instead of one central authority directing a variety of tourism developments/industries, there is a series of offices and organizations, with the task of promoting Japan as a travel destination. Utilizing both a qualitative methodology of ethnography and interviews and a quantitative analysis of recent tourists attracted in the “Visit Japan Campaign”, this paper investigates why Japan has one of the world’s least effective inbound tourism policies. Finally by illustrating the Japanese perception of tourism based on the reaction of various tourism “bodies” to typical academic tourism research, the paper examines whether tourism functions as an industry group in Japan or whether it is viewed as a tool by the Japanese government to promote a positive image of Japan.


Japan, Inbound tourism, tourism management, national tourism organization, VJC, Visit Japan Campaign.

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