Clean breathable air, genuine encounters with local people, sauna, shopping and the opportunity to see ordinary life in a Finnish home. These things are of interest to Japanese tourists and they will be seen and experienced by Lohja.
Three years is a short time for such a project. Still we have already seen good results, glowed Shigeyoshi Noto in Lohja on Saturday. Noto has a travel agency called ForesightMarketing. He is the lead expert for the Caito project in Japan and he is also the main partner for Visit Finland on all matters related to the Japanese market. Noto spent the weekend in Lohja with his office staff. A member of Finnair’s Osaka office was also included.
The Japanese were in Lohja because of the Christmas market of the past. Minna Ermala, the Tourism Manager of Lohja, had built a three-day program for them in western Uusimaa.
“We are very impressed by this atmosphere we are completely unfamiliar with,” Noto said. – Here’s a great Christmas atmosphere.
Walking through the market, the party had already come in contact with the Lohja people. “It is very important to us to communicate with the local people,” Noto said, and said he was delighted with the way people have spontaneously come to talk to them.
More than 200,000 Japanese tourists visit Finland each year. Noto said that part of this tourist flow is very accessible here – Helsinki has a lot of tourists, we want to see the countryside.
Full article (in Finnish) can be found here: http://ejuz.lv/6a40
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.»
The sauna tradition is thought to originate somewhere in northern Europe around 2,000 BC and has remained an important part of cultural life to this day in many countries including Estonia, Latvia, and Finland. The locals indeed like to debate who now has the best saunas, but the truth is that their building techniques and traditions have evolved mostly in parallel for the past few thousand years, which is why saunas are a way of life and in many ways, the history of sauna is really a history of us. In addition to the sauna traditions the countryside provides a varied ambience of heritage – numerous national parks, contrasting coastlines, historic sites, varied landscapes, rich wildlife, charming small towns full of history and peaceful milieu.
Visiting all three countries in one trip is very easy – relatively short travelling distances between and within the countries due to their small size, no border formalities since all are in EU, the same time zone, the same currency and similar climate.
This handbook aims to increase the capability of rural tourism companies to enter the Japanese tourism market and includes knowledge gathered from surveys of Japanese visitors, tourism agencies and travel intermediaries and analysis of Japanese tourists’ expectations and interests compared with the products and services offered by rural tourism enterprises. Following customer journey decision-makers’ interviews and forums, transport gaps were identified and potential solutions proposed. There is also the possibility to replace sectorial thinking with holistic or system thinking and actions, which could be seen as the basis for innovations.
The content of Handook includes:
- The potential of rural tourism in Finland, Estonia and Latvia
- Japan as a target market for rural tourism service providers
- Marketing of rural tourism products to Japanese customers
- Defining problems, listing of gaps in customer journey in Finland, Estonia, Latvia
- The checklists
- Useful forms for digital marketing planning.
Project CAITo welcomes the ambassadors from Latvia, Estonia and Finland in Japan in the seminar dedicated to the rural tourism on 22th of November at Latvian Embassy in Tokyo.
Project CAITO team prepared two excellent materials – Products manual 2020 and Sauna brochure. New Products Manual 2020 introducing the experiences in Rural area such as farm or manor house stay, Sauna/Spa, and Organic gastronomy was presented. Sauna brochure is newly published, which includes Sauna culture and products in each country
There are many products already introduced in the Japanese market and rural products are recognized as an important category in the European market where rural tourism is seen as a tool for overcoming excessive tourism and to ensure the sustainability of tourism. The representatives from each country visited Japan for this seminar and made presentations on the charm of rural area and the products.
Project CAITO team invites you to joint conference “JAPAN – THE GATE TO ASIAN TOURISM MARKET” which will be held on 26-27th of November at Tallinn.
Conference will bring together tourism entrepreneurs, intermediaries and associations, tourism development and destination management specialists, tourism and transport related decision makers, embassies, Central Baltic programme representatives, CAITO project coordination and steering group members and partner´s institutions, all interested in the Japanese tourism market development.
Conference will address issues regarding the joint marketing for Japanese tourism market, integrated and combined transport strategy and intermediary between customers and Japanese. Invites speakerswill discuss how CAITO project built bridge between Estonia-Latvia-Finland rural areas and Japan and how to welcome Japanese guests. project team will present customer journey study findings and reflect of CAITO familiarisation trips for Japanese tour operators and media. We will have a panel discussions on customer journey, tourism transport, product development and marketing questions.
You are welcome to register until 18th of November to the conference and pre-conference seminar at https://forms.gle/wZMxHVppVTEsV4mH7
Pre-conference seminar: Luhtre Tourism Farm (Rapla County, www.luhtre.ee).
Conference: PROTO Invention Factory(Tallinn, http://prototehas.ee)
There is no participation fee.
The experience of Japanese media representatives in Finland, Latvia and Estonia by Mr. Sasaki Komei and Mr. Kan Kenta.
The video: https://youtu.be/kboVZhH1Yns