Frankfort, KY.- Japan’s most influential tour operators, travel agents, and travel media will learn more about Kentucky as a travel destination during a special “Kentucky Week” scheduled May 16-22 at the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan. This is the first World Exposition of the 21st Century and will host an estimated 15 million visitors from March 25 through September 25, 2005. The United States, which is one of 125 participating countries, expects an estimated 1.75 million visitors to pass through its 17,000 square foot pavilion, averaging an estimated 10,000 visitors per day. Other states participating include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
The Cabinet for Economic Development routinely conducts economic development recruitment trips to Japan. The 2005 World Expo has created the opportunity for the Commerce Cabinet, the University of Kentucky, and Georgetown College to partner in this effort to place the international spotlight on Kentucky. It is an extraordinary opportunity to position the state as a global leader in business, tourism and education.
Each partner will host various events at the U.S. Pavilion targeting their specific industries. On Wednesday, May 18, Governor Fletcher and Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash will host approximately 200 key Japanese travel professionals. The guests will view a specially produced video that showcases Kentucky’s appeal as a destination for residents of Japan.
“Kentucky already has several strong, positive images among Japanese travelers,” Fiveash noted. “They love bluegrass music, horse racing, bourbon and Stephen Foster. This puts us at an advantage over some other states that have no strong identity with Japanese visitors.”
Fiveash said he is confident the Department of Tourism’s contacts during Kentucky Week will result in more bookings of individual and group travelers from Japan to Kentucky. In recent years, Kentucky has seen increased leisure travel by the Japanese as a compliment to their business travel. More than 2 million Japanese travelers visited the United States in 2004.
“This was a tailor-made opportunity for us to participate in the first World Expo of the 21st century,” Fiveash said. “We are thrilled to be hosting this week along with the Cabinet for Economic Development, the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College.”
Kentucky also has a World Exposition website accessible in English or Japanese. Partners and sponsors have links on this site and Kentucky-made products can be purchased through an Artisan Online Catalog. Visit www.visitkentuckyusa.com, which will be available until the Expo ends on September 25, 2005.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, to generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky's economy.