|Above, Ginza's Mitsukoshi department store. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Japan's retailers and hotels are competing for repeat customers who are also foreign visitors.
According to Nikkei Asian Review:
TOKYO -- Japanese department stores and high-end hotels are competing for the loyalty of wealthy foreign travelers who make repeat trips to the country.
Takashimaya, an Osaka-based department store operator, is set to issue "VIP membership" cards at the end of May. Foreign customers who come in regularly or spend a lot will be granted the status. Perks will include updates on new products via email and other means, as well as in-store interpretation and special concierge services.
Currently, sales to foreign visitors account for 6% of Takashimaya's total. At some locations, however, the ratio approaches 20%. The company sees the membership program as a way to make the most of this customer base.
In a survey by the Japan Tourism Agency, 11% of the foreign tourists who came to Japan last year for sightseeing and leisure said they had visited the country more than 10 times. The ratio was up about 3 percentage points from 2012. Put another way, repeat visitors are helping to fuel the overall increase in tourism.To read more, go here.