A grant system launched in Kyoto to encourage meeting planners to incorporate traditional cultural activities into their events has been hailed a success. In 2011/2012, the City of Kyoto introduced the Support System Culture Programme for Meeting Events as part of its policy to promote the city¡¯s brand internationally. It proved popular with 75% of the grant budget being used to incorporate cultural activities into events - the most popular being maiko and geiko geisha.
The Kyoto Convention Bureau has welcomed the continuation of the scheme for 2012/2013 and hopes more meeting planners will take advantage of the financial support, particularly those organising smaller events.
Kyoto is widely recognised as a centre for heritage in Japan with its rich history and culture, including 17 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. The programme supports traditional arts such as maiko and geiko, taiko drum, Koto harp, tea ceremonies and kimono dressing performances which are integrated into education workshops, gala dinners and reception parties.
Some of the meetings which benefited from the grant included the International Association for Energy Economics, and the IEEE International Conference on Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems. Many of Kyoto¡¯s venues participated including the Noh Theatre, Butokuden Martial Arts Hall, the Tofukuji Zen Buddist Temple as well as hotels and conference centres.
James Kent, international marketing manager at the Kyoto Convention Bureau, comments: ¡°We recognise that many business destinations around the world already offer local cultural attractions to meeting organisers as well as different forms of subvention. However, these activities are often decided upon by the destination. The benefit of the scheme in Kyoto is that meeting planners can decide for themselves which of Kyoto¡¯s cultural arts fit best with their programme. The grant simply provides the support to help them incorporate it.¡±
¡°We have been highly impressed with the success of the scheme. With the scheme continuing in 2012/2013, we hope that even more meeting planners can take advantage of the financial support available and showcase Kyoto¡¯s rich heritage to delegates from around the world.¡±