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Luxury Ryokan Collection opens Seattle Office

Travel News Asia 5 October 2005

The Luxury Ryokan Collection (LRC), a luxury brand of many of the finest ryokans across Japan has opened a new office in Seattle Office.

Mr Steven Corless and Ms Matsumi Kakuyama have been appointed as Regional Directors, based in Seattle. Both Mr Corless and Ms Kakuyama will focus on sales and marketing for LRC, their soon-to-be launched second brand of ryokans and a Japan Concierge Service. Both individuals report directly to Executive Director, Ms Cecilia Tee, based in Hong Kong.

A native of Seattle, Mr Corless is very familiar with the Japanese market, having lived and worked 15 years in the country. His last position was director of the Tokyo office of a US trade association where he worked with US firms to develop new business opportunities in the Japanese market.

Prior to this, he was the Commercial Attach at the American Embassy based in Tokyo with the responsibility for the travel and tourism, consumer goods and financial services portfolios. Mr Corless also managed the US Government travel industry promotion program in Japan and played a key role as the US Embassy representative responsible for the development and implementation of a bilateral tourism promotion initiative between the United States and the Government of Japan designed to increase US travel to Japan and Japanese outbound travel following the events of September 11, 2001.

He also held other senior management positions during his tenure in Japan. Corless is fluent in both spoken and written Japanese.

A native of Japan, Ms Kakuyama has held various positions in the hotel and travel industry. Her most recent position was Conference Service Manager at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel at Chinzanso, Japan, where her network of contacts included VIP guests from the USA, Europe, and the Saudi royal family. Before joining Four Seasons, Ms Kakuyama worked for a travel industry consulting firm where she managed Seattle and Washington State's tourism promotion program in Japan.

She holds a BA in Comparative Cultures (International Affairs and Politics) and is a graduate of Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. Ms Kakuyama speaks fluent English and Korean.

Executive Director Ms Cecilia Tee, said, The USA is our number one contributor to LRC and accounts for 70% of our business to date. We are also confident that both Steve and Matsumi will help us increase this business further.

LRC offers a selection of many of the finest ryokans across Japan offering exclusive services to guests including interpretation, free mobile phone, wine cellar services, multinational language guides, luxury hotels in key cities as well as transportation services.

Ryokans are traditional inns that hark back to medieval times and can be considered national treasures of Japan, particularly those at the highest end where there are only about 200 in existence. LRC consists only of Category AAA ryokans, each with its own rich history. A ryokan stay offers travellers the experience of the authentic traditional Japanese culture and customs and an indulgence in old-fashioned Japanese hospitality and service at its legendary best.

See other recent news regarding: Ryokans, Japan

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