NISEKO could be set for a UK invasion next winter after a delegation of the nations’ most influential ski journalists came to town.
The Niseko Promotion Board organised a dinner in Hirafu attended by the visiting media – from major newspapers including The Financial Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail – and representatives of Niseko’s business community.
One local attendee Julian Bailey, a UK expat and sales and marketing manager for Hokkaido Tracks management, said the visitors were speaking very positively about the resort which would translate into good press for Niseko in the UK before the next season.
“The general feedback was that they felt fairly confident Niseko was at the beginning of a fairly big boom in terms of the international ski press and how it’s seen internationally,” Bailey said.
“Basically Niseko and Revelstoke in Canada are the two places in the world that everybody is very excited about.
“It’s such an interesting place, it’s full of so many stories and dimensions and Japan itself makes it a whole fascinating new destination, rather than just Canada or the States or Europe.
“They were very bullish in their views on Niseko and expect it is about to go through some very serious changes now.”
The tour was organised by Inghams, one of the UK’s major travel companies.
Inghams moved into Hokkaido last season and now have a full-time representative on the ground in Niseko.
Bailey said Inghams was a ‘volume company’ and would be working towards bringing ‘very significant’ numbers of people here.
“They’ll be looking to charter flights to bring that sort of volume of people out here,” he said.
“If they can’t do that then it probably won’t be worthwhile for them.”
Until now it has been difficult to bring large numbers of UK people out here, but Bailey said if Inghams can make it cheap and easy enough it could happen, which would mean big things for Niseko.