ITOCHU Announces Inbound Tourism Business Alliance Targeting Chinese Visitors
October 11, 2019
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has concluded a memorandum of understanding with RINGBELL Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Hidenori Toukairin, President & Representative Director; hereinafter “RINGBELL”) for establishing an alliance in the inbound tourism business, accommodating wealthy visitors from China.
There has been a consistent increase in inbound tourism in recent years. Total consumption by inbound tourists in 2018 reached ¥4,506.4 billion. Of that number, visitors from China were #1 in inbound tourism consumption, spending ¥1,537.0 billion during the year.1 More recently, more than half of the travelers coming from abroad have been repeat tourists, who tend to be attracted more by privately arranged tours to rural parts of Japan, rather than by standard group tours to big cities. Those repeaters also tend to spend more money enjoying Japan’s unique tourist attractions, including its rich culture, nature, and history, rather than shopping for high quality Japan-made products, creating new trends in demands.
These trends are particularly obvious among wealthy visitors from China. Given this situation, it has become increasingly necessary for us to develop products and keep a customer-oriented business approach in accommodating more individualized market demand carefully.
Japan’s largest catalog gift businesses, RINGBELL maintains a nationwide network committed to offering unique, high-quality travel packages to both major metropolitan areas and regional locales.
Through this alliance with RINGBELL, ITOCHU aims to offer a range of tourism opportunities in view of the potential demand from wealthy Chinese travelers. We also seek to develop and offer a variety of unique food items and itineraries, providing tourists with opportunities to enjoy Japanese culinary culture and hospitality during their stay in Japan.
To begin, ITOCHU will plan, develop and demonstrate new tour products, leveraging the network of wealthy consumers in China held by Charoen Pokphand Group Company Limited (CP Group), a strategic capital and business alliance partner of ITOCHU. We will launch full-fledged marketing activities after identifying the needs of wealthy customers in China and implementing product improvements. We are also considering the option of opening a virtual shop on Fliggy, a leading online travel platform in China which is a business of Alibaba Group.
ITOCHU will take steps to develop its alliance with RINGBELL further in the area of inbound tourism, aiming to promote new business development in view of the wealthy consumers in Asia, generating synergy with existing businesses in close cooperation with other entities within the ITOCHU Group, both at home and abroad.
*1“Consumption Trend Survey for Foreigners Visiting Japan” released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)