JNTO opens its tourism office in the capital

KUALA LUMPUR: In a bid to boost the number of Malaysian tourists especially Muslims to Japan, the Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) officially opened its office in Chulan Tower at Jalan Conway, here today.

JNTO president Ryoichi Matsuyama said having an office in the capital was apt as it has been 60 years since both Malaysia and Japan established diplomatic relations.

"I hope with the office, there will be mutual tourism exchange between Japan and Malaysia through various promotional activities.

"Japan has many charms to offer for visitors and we are more than ready to cater for the Muslims planning to visit the country," he told reporters at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel, here.

Addressing common concerns by Muslims who wish to visit Japan such as food and prayer spaces, Matsuyama said the country has made significant improvements such as having halal food options and prayer facilities at hotels and lodges.

"We will also actively disseminate information to ensure that Muslim visitors, who constitute 60% of the Malaysian population will be able to visit Japan in comfort," he added.

With the country having recorded 24.4 million visitors last year, Matsuyama said, Japan aims to record 40 million visitors by 2020 when the country hosts the Olympics.

Some 394,200 Malaysians visited the Land of the Rising Sun last year, a 29.1% increase compared to 2015.

In an effort to promote tourism in the country, JNTO aims to participate in travel fairs such as the Matta Fair, hosts seminars and offer support to facilitate tours for travel agents and the media.

Among those present were Matta president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Seri Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Japan State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ryosei Tanaka and Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa.