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Ryokan Collection lifts profile as Japan’s popularity soars

September 16, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Japan is riding high as one of the top destinations for Australian visitors (having just reached number one on the latest list of fast-growing destination countries, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) and to get the best experience, travellers can’t do better than to stay in luxury ryokan traditional Japanese inns and Japanese small luxury hotels.

The Ryokan Collection is the world’s first consortium of these. Its founder, Hiroki Fukunaga, was in Australia last week explaining what the collection has to offer and why Australians love staying in ryokan properties.

The Ryokan Collection groups 38 luxury traditional Japanese inns and Japanese small luxury hotels.

Coincidentally, Japan shone last week when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures statistics, for July 2019. Out of Australia’s Top 10 destination countries, the highest annual increases were recorded for:

  • Japan (13.8%)
  • Indonesia (8.9%)
  • India (8.2%).

Fukunaga revealed some distinguishing features of Australian travellers, 500,000 of whom visited Japan in 2018. On average they stay longer than other international tourists and they spend more on accommodation – AUD 711 each, or 39.5% of their total expenditure for the visit. They also spend more on food and drink.

The Ryokan Collection

Most Australians are first-time visitors to Japan (67%) and the top choice of what they want to do on a subsequent visit is to “try more Japanese cuisine” (67.2%). Fukunaga said Australia had risen from the eighth-largest provider of international visitors to The Ryokan Collection to become fourth largest.

“1800 Australians have booked to stay with us in 2019, an increase of 8.3%” Fukunaga said.

“It’s been a remarkable 15 years in the Japanese ryokan industry, which we have been privileged to be a part of as the first ryokan consortium specialising in the global market,” he added.

“The Japanese ryokan business has a 1300-year history, so we are still relative newcomers, but by providing global luxury travellers with access to Japan’s unique properties and experiences, I am confident we are building a brand to last for at least the next 100 years.”

Director of sales and marketing, Kelly Kim, added: “Our mission is not only to deliver the international business to our member ryokans but also to showcase their regions and their communities. Making Japan an authentic and attractive destination for global luxury travellers supports local economies and sustains traditional culture.”

The Ryokan Collection is represented in Australia by tourism sales, marketing, and communication solution agency, Inspired Luxury, appointed in July to raise the profile of The Ryokan Collection across the travel industry and consumers.

“The Ryokan Collection is a stunning boutique property group with an amazing heritage and are a recognised leader in the luxury sector,” founder and chief executive of Inspired Luxury, Lynne Ireland, said.

“We are looking forward to introducing Australians to these traditional properties for an unrivalled taste of Japanese culture.”

Ireland said that Ryokan experiences were highly customisable, so if travellers wanted Japanese dinner but no Japanese breakfast, for instance, or if they preferred two mattresses for extra comfort, that was easily arranged.

The Ryokan Collection gives a glance into Japan’s history. The Japanese ryokan dates back 1300 years. From hot springs to Geisha, the small, often family-run, inns have provided premium experiences across Japan.

Each ryokan must pass a rigorous assessment before it can be incorporated into The Ryokan Collection, a requirement designed to ensure exceptional service, attention to detail and a completely bespoke traditional experience unseen almost anywhere else in Japan.

Inspired Luxury is helping the Ryokan Collection to grow their reach within Australia through providing a sounding board for new ideas, building their profile within the market and with the consumer, and using Inspired Luxury’s personalised understanding of individual needs to create cutting edge strategies and strong relationships within the luxury sector.

Having successfully worked with world-renowned luxury brands including, Kokomo Private Island, Elite Havens, Virgin Limited Edition and B Signature Hotels, the addition of the Ryokan Collection to Inspired Luxury’s growing portfolio is highly appropriate.

For generations, Japanese people have been turning simple daily tasks into expressions of art. From traditional tea ceremonies to the art of flower arrangement, there is a unique beauty in the movements and precision expressed in these traditions. The Ryokan Collection have cultivated many forms of traditional artistry for travellers to experience.

Visitors can learn the way of the Japanese tea ceremony (Sumiya ryokan), dine with Geisha at a prestigious Ochaya (teahouse) in Kyoto, engage in seated Zen meditation at Hokyoji Temple (Beniya Mukayu ryokan), learn the Ikebana art of flower arrangement (Kifu-no-sato ryokan), soak in the Onsen Hot Springs (Zaborin ryokan). There are many choices.

Written by Peter Needham

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