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Winner of the METI Minister's Award Selected in 12th Industrial Tourism Town Revitalization Awards Program

September 14, 2018

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) selected the winner of the METI Minister’s Award under the Industrial Tourism Town Revitalization Awards Program, a program aiming to recognize associations that excel in efforts to revitalize regional economies through industrial tourism, which has been organized by the National Council for Promoting Industrial Tourism and the Japan Travel and Tourism Association.

1. Outline of the program

The awards program aims to recognize associations, including municipalities, tourism associations, commerce and industry associations, chambers of commerce and industry, NPOs, shopping arcade associations and enterprises, for their outstanding efforts in revitalizing their own towns through industrial tourism and for serving as case examples of success for other towns across Japan. Industrial tourism is a new type of attention-attracting approach to revitalizing regional economies in which industrial heritage sites or industrial facilities still under operation are utilized for attracting tourists. Since the inauguration in FY2007, the awards program has been organized by the Japan Travel and Tourism Association. In FY2014, the METI Minister’s Award and the Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner’s Award were additionally created.

2. Winner of the METI Minister’s Award

Winner Umemorihonten Co, Ltd. (Nara Prefecture)
Details of winner’s effort The winner operates Umemori Sushi School, a facility for making visitors from around the world happy and smile through its experience-based sushi making events.. Overseas visitors to the facility account for 95% of all visitors, and this has been making a great impact on efforts for attracting overseas tourists to Nara Prefecture.
Reason for the selection The winner was recognized for its successful introduction of an entertainment element into its events in which tourists experience making sushi, a representation of traditional Japanese food culture, and for its achievements, e.g., highly-effective efforts for attracting overseas tourists and profits therefrom. In addition, it was also recognized for its expansion of business viewpoints to those involving cooperation with communities and solutions to social issues, and this standpoint is expected to contribute to further vitalizing communities.

3. Selection process

The National Council for Promoting Industrial Tourism and the Japan Travel and Tourism Association, organizers of the program, received 16 applications. An examination committee of experts,* established by the organizers, examined the applications and selected winners based on the assessment criteria, including the scarcity of target industrial heritage sites and approaches to providing information on such sites to customers.

As for the METI Minister’s Award, the organizers further sorted out the candidates based on the certain criteria of whether or not the projects have potential for commercialization or creation of new business opportunities and finalized the winner of the award.

*Note: The examination committee consisted of Mr. Shinji Fukukawa (Board Chairman of Toyo University), as a chair, and nine other members.

4. Commendation ceremony

A commendation ceremony will be held as a part of the Japan Industrial Tourism Forum to be held at the site of Tourism EXPO Japan 2018.

Date:
September 21 (Fri.), 2018
Japan Industrial Tourism Forum:
From 13:30 to 16:00
Commendation ceremony:
From 13:55 to 14:25 (tentative)
Venue:
Tokyo Big Sight (3-11-1 Ariake, Koto Ward, Tokyo)

5. Other winners

Japan Tourism Agency Commissioner’s Award
Mashiko Tourist Association, Mashiko Town (Tochigi Prefecture)
Gold Award
Hyoukichiya (Mie Prefecture)
Silver Award
Fujiyoshida City (Yamanashi Prefecture)
Special Award
Naha City Tourism Association (Okinawa Prefecture)

Division in Charge

Cool Japan Policy Division, Commerce and Service Group