Shinsei Bank and the travel information agency Yamatogokoro recently announced that they are partnering to hold inbound tourism business seminars for visitors to Japan. Their cooperation, which became official on July 10 of this year, will improve regional tourism and help more tourists get the financial support and information they need while traveling.
With a board including J. Christopher Flowers and Hideyuki Kudo, Shinsei Bank has a history of engaging with travelers, particularly when it comes to making ATM services available to non-native individuals. In February of this year, Shinsei began putting out a series of ATMs that support non-Japanese Visas and MasterCards, particularly in the tourist-heavy Tokyo area. These ATMs allow users to withdraw Japanese yen from their accounts at home or get cash advances on their credit cards. Because the funds are available through Seven Bank and UnionPay, withdrawals are easier for Chinese visitors as well as tourists from other areas across the world (UnionPay in particular is frequently used in China). The current plan is to start with installing 76 ATMs at 35 branches, in particular at convenience stores such as FamilyMart.
In order to make and install these internationally-compatible ATMs, a bank pays about 1 billion yen ($8.33 million) or more. This means that smaller banks have a hard time making the transition, while bigger banks are all jumping on the bandwagon in order to serve a diversifying client base. This has become particularly true since 2014, when a record number of tourists visited Japan.
Yamatogokoro is also focused on improving relations with tourists, having launched a website in 2007 to deliver information, educational training, and consulting services to hotels, retailers, food service businesses, and local governments wanting to attract more tourists.