Hokkaido hosting Adventure Travel World Summit

People who work in an industry that caters to tourists seeking excitement and unusual experiences are gathering in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The "Adventure Travel World Summit" is an annual trade fair. Representatives from about 60 countries and territories are attending this year.

The adventure-travel business is worth about 500 billion dollars, and growing. It mainly caters to affluent customers in Europe and North America.

Industry officials say these travelers tend to spend more money and go on longer trips than other tourists, generating significant economic benefits for local communities.

The activities are diverse. The theme of an event marking the summit's opening was "radio gymnastic exercises," described as a Japanese cultural activity.

Organizers also took advantage of the event's location to promote Hokkaido and its rugged nature. Attendees headed off on 31 local tours. About 20 of them took to canoes.

Koganezawa Kenji, Chairman of Hokkaido Tourism Organization, says, "I think this international summit will become a starting point for people from overseas to know more about Hokkaido."

The four-day event runs to Thursday.