SELECT members of the Papua New Guinea tourism industry were recently treated to a Japanese cultural experience in Port Moresby at the official residence of Japan’s Ambassador to PNG, Morio Matsumoto.

Representatives of the Tourism Promotion Authority (TPA) who attended the event said the evening began with a lecture from Mr Matsumoto, who presented an interesting overview of Japan’s successful experiences in tourism promotion.

The highlight of his lecture was the Japanese ‘spirit of service’ referred to as Omotenashi, where a host anticipates and acts on the needs of their guest in advance and as a result provides a pleasing and satisfying service experience, TPA said.

Following the lecture was a presentation by Mr Alphonse Hayabe a senior tourism and hospitality lecturer with the University of PNG.

TPA said Mr Hayabe presented statistics from data collected through a survey carried out on tourists visiting PNG from Japan in 2012 as part of his PhD research.

The survey involved a hundred Japanese visitors who were asked to rate the services of PNG’s tourism sector, including the national airlines, accommodation providers, vehicle transport services and tour operators.

TPA said the findings revealed that more than 50 per cent of Japanese visitors rated PNG’s overall services as ‘satisfactory’, but many survey participants in their commentary feedback noted a need for improvement.

As a solution to the below satisfactory services experienced by Japanese tourists, Mr Hayabe proposed the PNG tourism industry take a cue from Japan and adopt the Yawarakai strategy, TPA explained.

The Yawarakai strategy takes on a customer-oriented focus and involves identifying tourists’ needs and matching them with a quality product or service.

Mr Matsumoto and Mr Hayabe recognise the huge potential PNG has for Japanese travellers and will continue to offer their insight into Japan and its people, especially for the benefit of PNG’s tourism industry, TPA said.