VIP travel buyers from Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, Russia and the U.S. participated in the First Annual Japan Luxury Travel Forum (JLTF). The Forum’s mission, which was sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry, and supported by members of the Japanese luxury travel industry specializing in inbound travel, was to increase awareness of Japan as a destination for international luxury travelers. In addition to travel with Japan Air Lines (JAL), JLTF provided luxury accommodations in Tokyo, appointments with 24 exhibitors in Shinagawa, Tokyo’s intercity, and evening programs.
The site,www.jltf.jp, contains information regarding participating tour operators and a list of diverse accommodations to help agents fulfill luxury clients’ needs.
Arriving in Tokyo, Tetsuya Furukawa, Director of Sales at the Four Seasons Marunouchi, conducted a site inspection of the well-appointed areas and rooms. The boutique hotel, located in the heart of the finance and government districts, has business, fitness and spa centers (the spa has a lounge, shower, sauna and steam room) open 24/7–services that are in great demand by busy travelers.www.fourseasons.com/marunouchi
Driving (or riding in) a car in India is a cultural experience. Despite the distances between states and cities, the best way for tourists to get around India is by private automobile. There are no super-fast bullet trains, and a private car provides convenience, flexibility, and allows you to keep your favorite driver for your entire trip. At first I was extremely nervous in the car, especially at night, with dark and not-always-very-well-paved roads. In fact, when my driver, Rana, picked me up upon my arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi,I complained, “Slow down. I’m not in a rush!” and “What’s with the incessant horn?” I just figured HE wanted to get home, since my Jet Airways flight had arrived after 10 p.m., and we hadn’t even gotten into his car until around 11:15 p.m. Nevertheless, after a week with him driving me all across North India, I was grateful that Indebo Travel (www.indebo.com), the company that arranged my trip, carefully screens its drivers. In fact, Rana, had been owner Nandini Ramaswami’s wife’s personal driver, before they agreed he was expert enough to drive their guests.