UNWTO commends Japan’s tourism commitment

PR No.: PR 14069

During an official visit to Japan, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, highlighted the commitment of the Japanese government to the tourism sector and the positive results of tourism in the country. Mr. Rifai met the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to discuss the strengthening of the relationship between UNWTO and Japan and inaugurated the 2014 JATA Tourism Expo in Tokyo (24-26 September 2014).

International tourism in Japan rebounded strongly following the impact of the Tohoku earthquake in 2011. In 2013, international tourists to Japan increased by 24% to reach more than 10 million for the first time – nearly doubling the number of visitors registered in 2002. Similarly, tourism exports rose 27%, earning a record US$ 15 billion.

“Japan’s remarkable tourism results are the result of the solid and cohesive efforts of the Japanese government to position Japan as a distinguished tourism nation. I would like to especially commend the government´s recent initiatives to facilitate the visa requirements for the nationals of several Asian countries, which led to a sharp increase in the country´s visitors”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, speaking at the 2014 JATA Tourism Expo Japan, organized the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), a UNWTO Affiliate Member.

“These positive steps, as well as the upcoming Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, renew our confidence that Japan will welcome its envisioned 20 million visitors by 2020”, he added.

The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism emphasized Japan’s continued willingness to play an active role in the field of international tourism, by becoming a member of the UNWTO Executive Council in 2015. Mr. Ohta further expressed his support in promoting the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism in Japan in order to further contribute to the development of sustainable tourism around the globe.

Mr. Rifai held meetings with the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Mr. Akihiro Ohta, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kazuyuki Nakane, the Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Mr. Shigeto Kubo, the Chairman of JATA, Mr. Hiromi Tagawa, as well as Senior government officials in Nara. Discussion topics included tourism policy, tourism and ethics and Nara’s support to the UNWTO Silk Road Programme.

On the occasion of Mr. Rifai’s visit, 12 representatives from the Japanese private sector signed the Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics, declaring to uphold ethical standards in their policies and operations.


Useful links:

UNWTO Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific

UNWTO Silk Road Programme

SG Keynote Speech

Private Sector Commitment to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics



UNWTO Senior Media Officer: Marcelo Risi

Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 


UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme

Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 

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