AFTER its successful travel roadshow in Russia, homegrown resort Plantation Bay Resort and Spa, this time, has conducted a sales blitz in four cities of Japan to help the government boost Japanese arrivals.

Plantation Bay general manager Efren Belarmino said the team spent 12 days in Japan last month to visit their travel partner agencies in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka.

According to Belarmino the team picked these cities for its travel mission because of their direct connectivity to Cebu and Manila.

He said they had been conducting travel roadshows in Japan yearly since the resurgence of this market in the past years.

“We intend to sustain the Japanese market with this gesture,” said Belarmino.

He credited the continued influx of the Japanese market to the rising number of direct flights every year, on top of the healthy relationship between Japan and the Philippines.

Belarmino stressed that during their sales blitz they did not only highlight the resort’s improved facilities but they also marketed Cebu as a destination to this high-spending market.

Top activities enjoyed by the Japanese are food, spa and wellness, beach, island hopping and diving, among others. Belarmino said Cebu’s proximity to all these exciting tourism products attracts the Japanese to keep coming back, aside from the Filipinos’ well-known hospitality.

The Japanese, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT), are known as high-spending and long-staying travelers. A Japanese tourist spends at least $200 a day in a destination and stays three to four nights. They, however, are very particular about product and service offerings.

According to Belarmino, they are prepared to accept the influx of more Japanese tourists in Cebu as almost all resort properties are upgrading their facilities to provide a new experience and taste of what Cebu has to offer.

One recent addition to Plantation Bay’s offering is its retail component called Plantation Bay Bazaar that houses local products for discriminating travelers. The two-level 125-square-meter shopping facility, which opened this year, is occupied by tenants selling high-end souvenir items and other local products.

Aside from that, the resort is on track to completing the renovation of all its hotel rooms, which has been done in phases. Belarmino said they expect to complete the room renovation in the middle of 2018, in time for the opening of Terminal 2 of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

He also welcomed the entry of new players in Mactan, saying their presence would make competition healthier and direct more attention toward Mactan and Cebu.

“With all these robust developments, foreign markets would be curious about what is happening here,” he said.

Japanese arrivals to Cebu stood at 157,666 from January to May this year, up 5.69 percent. Korea remains Cebu’s biggest market with arrivals up 8.42 percent to 335,984. China had the fastest growth during the period with arrivals to Cebu at 80,358, up 106.92 percent.

Cebu welcomed a total of 1.9 million tourists in the first five months of this year.

The DOT aims to increase Japanese visitor arrivals to some 1.37 million by 2022, more than a twofold leap from the 535,238 arrivals in the country in 2016.

Under the National Tourism Development Plan, the DOT is targeting 618,436 visitor arrivals from Japan in 2017. From January to June this year, Japan ranked fourth with 405,571 arrivals, accounting for 9.07 percent of the 4.47 million tourists the country received.