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Japan60 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 65It's business as usualthe soUthern Japanese Cities of Kyoto and osaKa have sUffered hUge bUsiness losses as a resUlt of the reCent earthqUaKe and tsUnaMi, bUt are Keen to tell the World they are still open for bUsinessilliam Shakespeare said: "Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving." The quote mirrors the serious problems Japan is facing following its triple calamity of a huge earthquake, tsunami and a nuclear crisis in the north-east of the country in March this year. In the small amount of time it took for the tremors to shake Japan, the country lost the faith of its visitors. Following the disaster venues countrywide faced empty bedrooms and boardrooms as convention organisers pulled their events from the country in fear. The cities of Osaka and Kyoto, sitting in the south of the country, were completely unaffected by the earthquake, yet most venues with convention space there have suffered cancellations. "We are still open for business," Kyoto Convention Bureau's Marketing Manager James Kent told CMW."The majority of cities in Japan that are used by the international events industry including Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyoto, Sapporo and Osaka were untouched and continue to be capable of hosting events. Almost every region of Japan popular for hosting events is exactly as it was pre-quake. We want to welcome back business," he said.Kyoto pre-quakeThe former capital of Japan between 794 and 1868, Kyoto, has a vibrant conference and meetings offering. The city's bureau recorded a 66 per cent jump in attendee numbers to events there between 2008 and 2010. It also saw an increase of 35.8 per cent in overseas visitors during this period. A total of 108,619 attendees attended events in Kyoto in 2010, including 16,246 from overseas. Kent said: "The increase in attendees was encouraging. In fact the average attendance at events rose dramatically, from 381 to 691 per event."Most exciting for our team was the 36 per cent increase in international business, which demonstrated the impact that our global marketing and promotional campaigns had. "We expect the number of meetings to remain low in Japan through 2011, due to the tragic tsunami and earthquake disaster."Kyoto is one hour 30 minutes drive from Kansai International Airport in Osaka. It is now the country's seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 m people and has a modern face. Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today, which provide a backdrop of culture to the more modern facilities the city houses.Kyoto is a living museum, the concentration of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites there is not matched anywhere else in the world and these locations are open to holding events onsite. Its other 'claim-to-fame' is that half of all Japanese Nobel Prize winners have been Kyoto University researchers. The convention space offering in Kyoto is varied. For those looking to organise a large event, many of the international hotel chains such as the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, Hotel Gran Via Kyoto and the Westin Miyako Kyoto all offer substantial space and modern facilities. Kyoto International Conference Center (ICC) was established in 1966 as Japan's first state-sponsored international conference centre and is Kyoto's Words VIKKI CARLEY W

JapanISSUE 65 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 61Almost every region of Japan popular for hosting events is exactly as it was pre-quakeJames kent, kyoto convention bureau marketing manager