Tokyo

Over 40 million tourists will travel to Japan in 2020. Image via Pexels

As travelers dive into trip planning for the 2020 Olympics, Japan Airlines has partnered with e-commerce travel platform Switchfly to make the process as smooth as possible.

Japan Airlines (JAL) and San Francisco-based travel-tech startup Switchfly have teamed up for a web-based reservation system that allows travelers to build custom packages of flights, accommodations, transportation and activities. The dynamic package offering, which is integrated into the airline’s online reservation, has already launched in Australia, Singapore, Thailand, United States and Canada, and will launch in eight more markets by March 2020.

Switchfly

Image: Japan Airlines website screenshot

“Upward of 40 million tourists are expected next year in Japan, triggered by the Olympics,” said Craig Brennan, CEO of Switchfly, adding that JAL wanted to capitalize on the momentum generated by the Japanese government towards boosting tourism. “The Olympics is just a one-time event,” said Brennan, “but it’s really been a multi-year journey of inbound tourism to Japan growing. JAL has taken advantage of this growth to offer dynamic packaging, where it’s not just the flights, but over time it’s the complete package of activities, hotels and insurance.

According to Brennan, the list of travel add-ons that can be selected during the flight-booking process will grow as the rollout matures, and will include products catering specifically to tourists visiting Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, such as rail passes and cultural events. Brennan knows firsthand how challenging travel in Japan can be for the Western visitor, and how much easier it gets when you have access to local knowledge and experience.

Switchfly has also connected American Airlines, JetBlue, LATAM Airlines and Copa Airlines with their passengers to boost ancillary sales and is on track to operate in 20 markets worldwide by the end of 2020.