CAITO project aims to bring countryside tourism offer to Japan’s market

The end of the conference Japan – gates to Asia’s tourism markets in Tallinn also marked the end of the three-year project CAITO, the goal of which was to form and introduce on Japan’s tourism market a unified offer from Estonia, Latvia and South-Finland for countryside tourism, says Rural Traveler representative Asnāte Ziemele.

She adds that the Rural Traveler and partners from Estonia and Finland have only just returned from Japan, where tourism operators and media representatives were presented at a seminar the latest countryside tourism offer, a guidebook Go Rural and the self-explanatory Sauna brochure. The seminar was held in Latvia’s embassy in Tokyo on 22 November. The seminar was opened by Latvia’s, Estonia’s and Finland’s ambassador’s in Japan.

«The idea for the project appeared after looking at the growing changes in tourists’ habits. We’ve noticed that tourists like travelling not only in large groups when visiting capital cities and the most popular tourist destinations but also in small groups and alone when exploring authentic cultural, historic landmarks and nature outside popular tourist attractions, searching for something special and authentic,» says Ziemele.

«This is when we noticed the potential of countryside tourism. Japan, as one of the far market choices of European Union’s programme, seemed like a logical choice. The objective of the project was surveying the qualities of the Japanese tourism market, creating a good, well-put together countryside tourism product, as well as conquering the trust of Japan’s tourism professionals.»

The countryside tourism product with the motto «Go Rural» created specifically for Japan’s market

includes visits and programmess to farms in the countryside with emphasis on telling about life there and values – traditional meals and their preparation, crafts, nature and traditions.

According to Ziemele, «CAITO project was a stimulus for our rural businessmen to become professionals when planning services, making sure they are as accurate as they are described in advertisements». «By opening the doors to Japan, we have made far-away markets more comprehensible to us. We now know how to approach them.»

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