The Kyoto Convention Bureau has announced it is aiming to attract more discerning visitors to the destination next year.

Jessica Meins, UK representative of the Kyoto City Tourism Office at McCluskey International, said: “We’re massively increasing the five-star product such as the five-star Ritz-Carlton which opens next year in February."

The hotel, which is located on the Kamogawa River in Nijho Ohashi, close to the downtown areas of Gion and Kawaramachi-dori, features 136 guest rooms and offers four dining options, as well as meeting rooms and spa facilities.

Meins added that plans are also underway for the launch of a Four Seasons hotel in the city in 2015, and the tourist office is hoping the emphasis on the luxury market will continue to attract UK visitors to the destination, which are numbered at 28,600 so far this year, up 3.6% on the same time last year.

According to the tourism office, the cultural side of the city is also a unique selling point.
Meins said: “What you get in Japan is a different cultural experience in Kyoto particularly as it is the old imperial capital; it’s got the geisha culture, temples, art and history.

"Promoting the gastronomy of the city, including cooking tours and lessons on how to make traditional Japanese cuisine such as sushi, is also growing increasingly popular among operators, and there are more Michelin-starred restaurants in Kyoto than anywhere in the world, apart from Paris.”

The tourism office said it is also looking to launch a website to promote stays in the city’s ryokans, which are traditional Japanese inns.
Meanwhile, overnight stays and short breaks at the destination are also up on 2012 figures, reflecting the increasing popularity of multi-centre breaks in Japan, according to the tourism office. Meins said: “We don’t want to limit visitors to Kyoto. We understand that when people go to Japan, they will stay in Kyoto for three nights and move on.”

In other news, the convention bureau is looking to host a fam trip for agents in March next year, in collaboration with the Japan National Tourist Office and British Airways, and is encouraging agents to get in touch to find out more about the opportunity to become involved.

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