JTB Corporation, Panasonic Corporation and Yamato Holdings Co., Ltd. announced they have started offering "LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL" (trademark registered) on August 8 outside Japan in the run-up to its service launch early next year in Japan. This service supporting hands-free tourism in Japan is designed to make travel in Japan easier and more enjoyable for travelers from abroad by eliminating the hassle of hauling their luggage around. The three companies work together in offering this service, as Japan expects the number of inbound tourists to reach 40 million by 2020. They also started recruiting agencies to handle this service.
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LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL Service overview (Graphic: Business Wire)
The commercial launch follows a trial that took place from September 1 to October 31, 2016. Many foreign tourists take time to take bulky luggage by themselves from the airport to their accommodation, which means less time for sightseeing. Tourists moving around with large suitcases, and luggage storage space have also created a challenge for tourist facilities and public transportation operators. With the anticipated increase of inbound tourists to Japan toward 2020, JTB, Panasonic and Yamato Holdings, leading Japanese companies in the field of travel-related services, electronics technologies and solutions, and door-to-door delivery services, respectively, teamed up to solve these problems. The trial and a subsequent survey found that although there were issues with public awareness of the service, it was appreciated highly in the level of satisfaction and efficiency of procedures. The companies now offer the service after boosting its convenience and marketing efforts based on the findings.
On August 8, 2017, JTB has begun offering "LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL" (LFT) through its "Sunrise Tours" package tours for travelers to Japan from abroad. The service provision will start on January 5, 2018.
The three companies have worked hard to realize this hands-free service unique to Japan, with JTB focusing on the "Multicultural Communication Business" for offering excitement and joy through the creation of multicultural exchanges between people, Panasonic on proposal of solutions to realize "lifestyles of the future" in 2020 and beyond, and the Yamato Group on "Let's Enjoy Hands-Free Japan!"
The LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service is a new platform allowing foreign travelers to Japan to enjoy hands-free tourism with more ease, convenience, and security than before. This is achieved by combining the knowledge, know-how, and technology cultivated by each of the three companies involved. The three firms will ramp up efforts for the January 2018 service launch, and continue their collaboration to expand the delivery area and improve the level of service.
[Overview of LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service]
This is a nation-wide service supporting hands-free tourism in Japan, so that when foreign visitors to Japan arrive, tour the country, and return home, they can send their large luggage to lodging facilities and airports without the need to write a shipping form in Japanese.
<Outline of service>
1) Purchase LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL through a tour package incorporating the service, which is provided by overseas branches of JTB or sales agents, or by accessing the reservation site for the service through a PC or smartphone.
2) Acquire a QR code at the time of purchase, which serves as a receipt number.
3) Present the QR code to the luggage reception staff at the airport counter, lodging facility, or other LFT agents.
4) Scan the QR code into the LFT reception system with support for five languages (Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, and Korean).
6) Receive the delivered luggage at the designated lodging facility or airport counter.
<Luggage checking/receiving time>
Delivery from arriving airport to lodging facility
Luggage checking: Until 11:00 / Luggage receiving: From 18:00 on the same day
Delivery between lodging facilities
Until 15:00 / From check-in time on following day
Delivery from lodging facility to departing airport
Until 15:00 two days before departure / From morning of day of departure
* Checking and receiving times may vary depending on the handling location.
• For travelers visiting Japan
1) Liberates travelers from the bother of luggage, creating pleasant free time, and enabling greater enjoyment of travel within Japan.
2) Eliminates the need to fill out delivery forms by hand, greatly reducing luggage checking time.
3) Travelers can easily apply for the service during their trip from a smartphone or other devices (from January 2018).
• For tourism providers (lodging facilities, etc.)
1) No need for initial adoption expenses such as those for installation of special-purpose terminals.
2) Improved work efficiency due to reduced time spent on luggage receiving work and reduction in temporarily checked luggage, etc.
3) Helps ease staff burden with the multi-language support (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese).
• For communities
1) Helps improve congestion and safety of public transportation by reducing migration of travelers with large luggage.
2) Contributes to promoting the tourist-friendliness of Japan and its regions, and revitalizing communities with improved mobility of tourists.
There are two fee categories for the LUGGAGE-FREE TRAVEL service, Small and Large, depending on the size and weight of the luggage.
Door to Door Luggage (lodging facility>>lodging facility)
Flight Luggage (Between Airport<<>>lodging facility)*2
[Small] Total of length, width, and height 120cm (15kg) or less: From ¥2,000/one-way (tax not included) *1
[Large] Total length, width, and height 160cm (25kg) or less: From ¥2,500/one-way (tax not included) *1
*1: There may be additional fees depending on the delivery area, for example:
<Shipping from the Kanto region> to Hokkaido or Kyushu (500 yen), or Okinawa (2,000 yen)
<Shipping from the Kansai region> to Hokkaido (500 yen), or Okinawa (2,000 yen)
*2: Delivering luggage from a lodging facility to an airport requires a fee of 648 yen separately.
More details will be posted late January 2018 at the LFT website: https://www.luggage-free-travel.com/.
[Applicable areas (as of January 2018)]
Delivery from arriving airport to lodging facility:
Luggage checking: 4 main airports(*1) / Luggage receiving: Lodging facilities nationwide(*3)
Delivery between lodging facilities:
Checking: LFT agents, approx. 100 facilities(*2) / Receiving: Lodging facilities nationwide(*3)
Delivery from lodging facility to departing airport:
Checking: LFT agents, approx. 100 facilities(*2) / Receiving: 4 main airports(*1)
(*1) Four airports: Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu
(*2) Approx. 100 LFT agents, primarily located in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Takayama.
(*3) Approx. 10,000 lodging facilities nationwide, selected based on usage tendency by foreign travelers visiting Japan.
The number of airports and LFT agents handling the service will gradually be increased, aiming to make it possible to transport luggage from 2,500 facilities nationwide to major lodging facilities and airports by 2020.
For more details, visit http://news.panasonic.com/global/press/data/2017/09/en170921-3/en170921-3.html
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