Hokkaido Tourism Organization Chairman Yoshihiro Sekihachi made clear in recent statements to the Nihon Keizai Shinbun that he supports two specific measures to stimulate the growth of tourism: the development of an IR within the prefecture and instituting a special tourist tax.
In regard to the IR concept, Sekihachi believes that it will have a major economic ripple effect within the local economy. He calls for efforts to provide a “correct understanding” about IRs to the general public.
Sekihachi, who was formerly the president of Hokkaido Bank, stated that the fundamental tourism concepts advocated by former Governor Harumi Takahashi were correct, but that the funds allocated for tourism development in the prefecture have been insufficient, amounting to about JPY2 billion (about $18 million) annually.
He will therefore recommend to new Governor Naomichi Suzuki to institute a special tourist tax that will allow investment in things such as public wi-fi services and human resources development that can create a virtuous cycle for the growth of tourism.