Kana Wakabayashi has been appointed executive director at the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney office, taking over from Mariko Tatsumi.
Wakabayashi, who hails from JNTO’s head office in Japan, has moved from Tokyo to Sydney to take up her second overseas posting.
“I’m excited to build on the momentum of my predecessors to show what makes Japan such a wonderful travel destination,” Wakabayashi said.
“JNTO Sydney office has been receiving great support from the travel industry and media in promoting Japan, and we’ve seen the results.”
2016 saw a record number of Australians visit Japan: 445,200 pax, an 18.4% increase from 2015 and 47.1% increase from 2014.
“This momentum shows no sign of stopping as more and more Australians learn about Japan’s diverse attractions. With the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics approaching, awareness is continuing to grow,” she said.
Wakabayashi has a background of over 15 years promoting Japan as an inbound destination and she intends to work closely with her team and local partners on marketing activities to drive more tourism to help meet the Japanese government’s new target of 40 million overseas visitors by 2020.