Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Shobunsha Holdings, Inc. and Shobunsha subsidiary MAPPLE, Inc. (MAPPLE) are pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MC and MAPPLE regarding joint studies on new tourism services.
The services will combine each company’s unique expertise with advances made by HERE Technologies (HERE)(1), a leading provider of location-based information technologies. The partners recently launched a pilot project to create localized mobility demand in the Aizukawamatsu “smart city’ in Fukushima Prefecture. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Aizuwakamatsu Tourism Bureau, a general incorporated foundation.
Aims Under the MoU
Although the tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected to enjoy robust growth over the medium to long term and be one of the main drivers of regional revitalization in Japan. Through these studies, MC hopes to develop real-world applications for location-information services that take advantage of HERE’s technologies, and to grow its know-how through cross-industry business developments. MAPPLE intends to leverage the studies to help stimulate Japan’s regional revitalization efforts through creative applications of map and other tourism services.(2)
In the future, the partners plan to develop a platform for regional mobility services that will enable connectivity between a wide range of services and service providers in both digital and real worlds. The efforts underway in Aizuwakamatsu City are a good first step towards creating mobility services that not only effectively marry digital contents with physical means of transport, but also showcase the unique appeal of each region and what tourists can expect to enjoy there.
The Pilot Project in Aizuwakamatsu City
The trials being carried out MC and MAPPLE have two focuses: (1) Delivery of local-tour-related content and a rental-bicycle booking service; and (2) Visualization and analysis of users’ mobility data.
Outline of Pilot Project
(1) Delivery of Local-Tour-Related Content and Rental-Bicycle Booking Service
The partners have developed digital content for visitors to Tsuruga Castle, one of the most famous tourist spots in the Tohoku (northeast) region of Japan. The content helps to provide visitors with a “smooth mobility experience” by using a routing function and other technologies from HERE to recommend tours of the region’s most popular attractions. Users can then select their preferred courses, and they can use the same platform to book rental bicycles managed by the Aizuwakamatsu Tourism Bureau.
The rented bicycles can help visitors to navigate the castle town’s complex network of streets, ease traffic congestion and reduce the region’s carbon footprint. In the future, MC and MAPPLE also plan to connect this bicycle service with other means of transportation to further optimize the region’s mobility environment.
(2) Visualization and Analysis of Users’ Mobility Data
The partners plan to link data on user attributes, preferences and mobility (obtained via GPS technology mounted on the rental bicycles) and then use HERE’s location platform to visualize and analyze those data. The results will be used to create new localized mobility demand, offer users personalized travel itineraries, and otherwise help tourists to enjoy a stress-free mobility experience.
For more information, visit https://www.mitsubishicorp.com/jp/en/pr/archive/2021/html/0000047442.html.