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Prospective first-timers to Japan targeted in new survey

Results expected to help gauge specific interests

The survey service will help clients take the pulse of tourists interested in visiting Japan.

TOKYO -- New market research will identify the places, activities and food that appeal to people who have never been to Japan, information vital to meeting the needs of international visitors.

Similar surveys generally target people who have visited the country before. The new service, from Bluemoon Marketing, will launch in April and aim to show potential demand among foreigners with no prior visits.

Men and women aged 18-69 will be asked if they are interested in visiting Japan and the cities and tourist attractions they would most want to see. The Tokyo-based company will use an overseas online survey network of the Japanese unit of Lithuanian software developer Syno International. Syno creates software for preparing online surveys and tabulating responses.

Results will be sent back about a week after implementation. Data will be tabulated by gender, age, city of residence and whether respondents have been to Japan. This will show, for example, the destinations highest on the prospective first-time visitors' wish lists, and the food they would want to try.

Such findings are expected to allow for more effective marketing. Ads highlighting the charms of Japan may work well on websites frequented by 20-something women who have never visited the country. Magazines popular among 30-something men who have traveled to Japan may be a good vehicle for ads tailored to repeat visitors.

Results and analysis will be available by country, enabling more specific marketing strategies.

More than 24 million international tourists visited Japan in 2016, up more than 20% from 2015, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. The government aims to lift the figure to 40 million in 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics. Tourist attractions and regional governments are eager to find out what first-time visitors want to do, buy and eat in Japan, Bluemoon Marketing said.

The service will start at 250,000 yen ($2,250) for a five-question survey covering 1,000 respondents in a single country, or just a quarter of the normal cost of an overseas study targeting visitors to Japan. For a poll of 2,000 people, fees will start at 400,000 yen. Clients can choose to have the survey conducted in any of 60 countries and regions. 

Bluemoon Marketing will sell the service to municipalities, sightseeing spots, travel agencies, hotels and commercial facilities. The target is to win orders from more than 50 clients in three years.

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