a peep into Japanese Entrepreneurs & Business ventures in Singapore
Produced by WASABI Creation
Despite the 311 earthquake,
the love for Japan of an Australian entrepreneur
is going to bring back tourists to this lovely country
Text by Jerome Lee, Manager Japan Travel (Singapore)
It started off with the most powerful earthquake to have hit Japan in March 2011, the Great East Japan earthquake, and from there it snowballed – powerful tsunamis reached up to 40.5 metres in height, destroyed countless homes and lives, caused nuclear plant meltdowns in Fukushima prefecture, and saw a large exodus of foreigners from Japan. Tourism in Japan took a hard plunge, bringing in a paltry 6.2 million visitors in 2011.
Borne out of a desire to bring the flow of tourism back to Japanese shores again, Australian/New Zealand serial entrepreneur Terrie Lloyd saw the opportunity in this crisis, and started up what was once known as JapanTourist.jp – and now JapanTravel.com, after a domain name change and a branding overhaul, which led to an average viewership of 6.5 million per month!
JapanTravel.com proves to be an effective method of generating user-contributed content from all around, in our information-saturated online media landscape today. From a small pool of writers back when it first started in November 2011, it has now grown to a pool of 8000 contributors, 1500 of them active on the website. What attracts contributors to JapanTravel.com is its reward system – accumulating points for various contributions, and using these points to exchange for a myriad of rewards available. Think books, gift cards, Japanese bento boxes, and even hotel stays and airline tickets!
JapanTravel.com runs a photojournalism internship program – a first in the Japanese market – inviting about 50 interns globally from April to December every year, for four weeks. During these four weeks, these interns immerse themselves in Japanese culture, tradition, etc., while documenting their travels, with JapanTravel providing transport and accommodation support for these interns.
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With the high flow of content coming through each day – and in 11 languages, content quality is vetted by Regional Partners – the lifeblood of JapanTravel.com. They vet quality of content pertaining to their prefecture, while recruiting writers in their community to contribute as well.
With its base in Japan, JapanTravel also has business development managers stationed overseas – namely, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and French. Terrie saw the need for JapanTravel.com to be well entrenched in the South East Asia region, with Japan relaxing visa regulations for countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to encourage more visitors. In Singapore, JapanTravel has worked with partners such as television stations, magazines and Japanese Language schools to encourage Singaporeans to turn to JapanTravel.com as their reference guide once again.
JapanTravel.com not only represents the best of what Japan has to offer, but also represents the kind of content that is most relevant to potential travellers to Japan – from current Japan travellers. It has now become the largest database on the web about tourism information in Japan!
Jerome Lee, Singapore Country Manager