Japan's Kyoto 'world's best city to visit'
Dubai, July 7, 2014
Japanese city Kyoto, known for its centuries-old temples and shrines, gourmet cuisine and traditional handicrafts and design, has topped the "World’s Best City to Visit" list.
It was the first time Kyoto maade it to the top in the latest poll by readers of the US magazine 'Travel + Leisure' with an impressive score of 90.21 out of 100 points.
In 2013 it ranked fifth and in 2012 ranked ninth becoming the first Japanese city to break into the top ten. Other destinations to follow Kyoto in the 2014 survey included Charleston (South Carolina); Florence (Italy) and Siem Reap (Cambodia).
As Japan’s ancient imperial capital, Kyoto is home to no less than 17 Unesco World Heritage Sites and most of Japan’s cultural and traditional arts and crafts traditions, including Kyoto’s famous artisans known as geiko and maiko (apprentice geiko), as well as Japanese kaiseki cuisine among others.
In 2013 Kyoto received a record 51.62 million tourists. Local hotels and ryokans (Japanese-style inns) accommodated 1.13 million foreign travellers, topping the 1 million mark for the first time.
While the number of tourists visiting Kyoto from the Middle East has traditionally remained few when compared to those from Europe, the US and other Asian countries, Kyoto has commenced promotions and activities to proactively lure Middle Eastern guests to its city.
In bid to attract more tourists from the Middle East, Kyoto City opened a promotional office in Dubai in April. Furthermore, Kyoto has been working closely with its local tourism and hotel industry to ensure cultural and religious needs are well taken care of.
Local seminars have been held regularly to educate the travel industry on the importance of providing Halal and Muslim-friendly cuisine and other services and amenities that would be appreciated by guests from the region, said senior Japan Tourism officials.
Since then a dedicated website highlighting the city’s Halal and Muslim–friendly cuisine restaurants and hotels, as well as other relevant information has been launched in English, Arabic, Bahasa Malaysian and Turkish.
Mayo Mieno, the director of Kyoto City Tourism & MICE Office: “We are simply delighted to be chosen as the Best City at the World’s Best Awards 2014 by Travel + Leisure readers. While we are filled with gratitude that many Americans have come to appreciate what the City of Kyoto has to offer, we would also like to see more and more travellers from the Middle East come visit our city for many unique and memorable experiences."
"There is so much on offer in Kyoto with many special tour packages providing unique cultural experiences including Japanese cooking classes, tea ceremony and even Japanese martial art classes to name just a few," she added.-TradeArabia News Service