A new distribution deal between JTB Corp, Japan’s biggest travel company, and Sydney-based Viator is already yielding strong sales, according to Viator CEO Rod Cuthbert.
Cuthbert said Viator has now added JTB’s huge Japanese destination product range to its database, which is marketed through through Viator.com and 500 affiliate sites such as Hotwire, Travelocity, Zuji and Priceline.com.
Products include sightseeing and destination activities like the famous Shinansen Bullet Train tours.
“We’ve been surprised and pleased at the booking levels so far,” Cuthbert said.
“Clearly, given the perceived language challenges a destination like Japan presents, people like to get themselves organized before they go.”
Cuthbert said the initial product focus is on Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and Kyoto, while the primary target market is inbound English-speaking travellers to Japan.
Cuthbert said Viator has partnered with the Sunrise Tours division of JTB.
“It’s a clear leader in English-language tours to Japan,” he said.
“There’s a bias towards educating visitors about the culture and history of Japan, and that’s exactly what our customers are looking for.”
Viator claims to be the world’s leading online aggregator and seller of destination product. Purchases are typically made by travellers prior to departure.
JTB Corp. is Japan’s largest travel company. Founded in 1912, it has offices worldwide and annual revenues in excess of US$13 billion.
More than seven million overseas travellers are expected to visit Japan during 2005, according to JTB estimates.
Ends / March 22, 2005