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The Basque Country is promoted in Japan as a varied, quality destination with an internationally recognised gastronomic offering

2023 October 16

Basque Tourism Marketing Day was inaugurated today as part of the Basque Week Japan, a week of activities related to industry, tourism and culture, as part of the annual program of activities Basque Country-Japan 2023. The tourism promotion event was inaugurated by the President, Iñigo Urkullu, and the Minister of Tourism, Trade and Consumer Affairs of the Basque Government, Javier Hurtado.

A dozen Basque tourism companies and more than 60 Japanese tour operators and specialised journalists attended the promotional event. This included a presentation of the tourist variety of the Basque Country, as well as a presentation of the Japanese market for Basque businessmen by representatives of the OTS (Spanish Tourism Office) in Japan.

The President addressed the participants, reminding them that tourism "is growing and improving in the Basque Country" and that the sector currently represents 6.4% of the Basque GDP and employs more than 100,000 people.

After assuring that the Basque Country and Japan share "a great welcoming culture", Iñigo Urkullu stated his satisfaction with the increase in Japanese tourism that has been registered in recent years in the Basque Country.

"We are very pleased to see how the number of Japanese people visiting us is increasing. In this evolution, we appreciate a confluence of tastes and interests between our two peoples. We believe that our country can be interesting and attractive for people who value tradition and love the avant-garde," he concluded.

 The Minister, Javier Hurtado, for his part, emphasised the rich diversity of the Basque Country's tourism offering and its commitment to a sustainable and respectful tourism model. In this regard, the Minister highlighted the essential role of the Basque Country’s Code of Ethics for Tourism, which has already been adopted by more than 622 Basque tourism companies . This code represents a commitment to environmental, socio-cultural and economic responsibility, and seeks to improve the quality of life of citizens and visitors. As highlighted by the Minister, the adoption of this Code also contributes to improving the experience and quality of the tourists' visit. This has been conveyed in meetings with relevant operators, such as the meeting held with Eijiro Yamakita, CEO of JTB Corporation, one of the largest and most prestigious travel agencies in Japan and one of the leading companies in the travel industry in the world.   This company has shown, in previous conversations, a great interest in applying the model established by the Basque Tourism Code of Ethics.

In addition, the Code of Ethics promotes mutual respect between visitors and the local community, the protection of the environment through deseasonalisation and ecotourism, and the promotion of local communities’ participation in tourism activities, ensuring economic, social and cultural benefits, particularly employment.

Finally, the Minister, Javier Hurtado invited all those present to discover the Basque Country, a territory that combines the best of nature, culture and gastronomy, and to experience the hospitality, warmth and open and plural culture of its people. The Basque Country seeks respectful tourists because we respect our visitors, and your stay in this region will be unforgettable.

The Basque Week event represented a unique opportunity to showcase the Basque Country's resources to the Japanese market and promote sustainable, authentic and enriching tourism for all involved.

 The Basque Government is committed to promoting relations between the Basque Country and Japan. Basque Week is an event that brings together businessmen and professionals from both countries to promote collaboration and exchange in various sectors, including tourism.

The Japanese Market Experiences a Significant Recovery in the Basque Country in the First Eight Months of 2023

 Data provided by the Basque Tourism Observatory show a significant recovery in the Japanese market during the first eight months of 2023, compared to the same period of the previous year. Despite this increase, the figures have not yet recovered the levels recorded in 2019, when 40,000 Japanese visitors to the Basque Country were reached.

Specifically, tourist arrivals from Japan have seen an increase of 218%, while overnight stays have increased by 179% compared to the same period in 2022.

The average expenditure per person per day of Japanese tourists in Spain amounted to 3,039 and 227 euros, while the average stay was 13.4 nights. Their main activities included shopping (66%), cultural visits (53%) and city tours (according to Turespaña estimates based on INE microdata).

There are two notable characteristics that define their tourist behaviour. First of all, their great interest in gastronomy. The search for authentic culinary experiences and the exploration of the rich diversity of flavours are key motivations that drive their desire to travel. Architecture is another of their most notable interests. Secondly, deseasonalisation is a recurring feature in the profile of the Japanese tourist. The months of September and October, in particular, are the periods with the highest number of Japanese tourists abroad. Japanese tourists also stand out for their high level of spending.

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Politicians attending the event