The National Hotel Management Seminar in Kansai, sponsored by Ohta Publications, publisher of the industry magazine Weekly Hotel Restaurant, was held at the Rihga Royal Hotel in Kita-ku, Osaka on 7 July.
Hiroshi Mizohata, former director of the Japan Tourism Agency and representative director of the Osaka Tourism Bureau, gave a lecture on the topic of “Trends in the tourism industry and signs of inbound recovery,” to an audience of 100 people.
The hotel and tourism industry have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation remains glum for many, but Mizohata stated, “You can’t have a glum face. If management say they’re suffering, they will lose touch with customers.”
He also used the metaphor, “Although limited express trains are currently stopping at all stations, they will be running normally soon. Now is the time for forbearance. We need to charge up our powers for a counter offensive.”
Further, based on the fact that the Kansai region, and Osaka in particular, was very popular for inbound customers before COVID-19, he argues, “Humans are creatures that operate on instinct. Tourism appeals to the five senses. Teleworking and online are not natural. Do not dance the dance of the media. What you have all been working on and the services you are providing were correct. Have confidence.”
Looking forward to the 2025 Osaka/Kansai Expo and subsequent IR he said, “The Expo is not a goal but a means for a growth strategy. When inbound visitors return, the IR operators will get going. It should all return to normal in six months to a year.”