Tokyo officials in New York promoting destination

NEW YORK -- Tokyo, in the midst of a push to double overseas arrivals to the city and eager to draw more Americans in particular, plans to open a Tokyo tourism promotion office in the U.S. by April, according to Yasuo Sekiya, the city's vice governor. Tokyo has not yet determined where the office will be located.

Sekiya and other city officials came to the Big Apple earlier this week as part of a series of city promotional events that started in 2002.

Previous events were staged on the West Coast and in the South; the Tokyo Festa, held Feb. 7 in Grand Central Station was the first for New York, "designed to give New Yorkers a sense of Tokyo's fairs," Sekiya said. The Japanese capital will stage another consumer event and a b2b trade fair in New York this fall, he added.

The overall goal is to bring 6 million overseas visitors to Tokyo by 2010, which would double the annual arrivals of three years ago, Sekiya said. The effort has a parallel in the country's push to double its numbers in the same period to 10 million in 2010, he said.

He also noted the striking disparity between Japanese travel to the U.S. (3.75 million in 2004) and U.S. travel to Japan (760,000 in the same year). About one-third of Japan-bound travelers are from California, about one in 10 from New York.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Nadine Godwin at [email protected].

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