Update: State of the travel and tourism industry in Japan


The Japan Association of Travel Agents released its bi-monlhly report on the state of the travel and tourism industry in Japan.

Foreign Visitors & Japanese Departure  

The foreign visitors to Japan in May grew by 15.3% on year‐on‐year basis, up to 1,894,000. In June, the increase was 23.9%, up to 1,986,000. During the first half of the fiscal year a total of 11,714,000 or 28.2% more foreigners visited Japan compared to the same period last year. The first half of the fiscal year set a record, surpassing the 10‐million mark for the first time and becoming the highest ever half‐year total in the history of Japanese inbound travel. (The previous record was set in the first half of FY 2015 when 9.14 million foreigner traveled to Japan.)

The number of Japanese traveling abroad in May was 1,233,000 or 2.3% smaller than the same month of the previous year and in June, year‐on‐year basis, 1,270,000 or 6.7% more Japanese traveled overseas.
Although overseas travel grew for the first four months of 2016 – from January to April – it decreased in May and grew again in June. In the first quarter of the fiscal year 7,911,000 Japanese traveled abroad, which is a first time first‐quarter increase for the past four‐years.

Transaction by Major Japanese Travel Agent

Compared to the same month last year, overseas travel decreased by 4.8% in March and the total number of overseas travelers in FY 2015 (April 2015 – March 2016) was 8.4% smaller than that of the previous year.

Foreign visitors grew by 31.7% in March and the total for FY 2015 reached a 44.4% increase. Domestic tour bookings were 8.9% more than those in March 2015 and during the year – from April 2015 to March 2016 – 8.3% more people traveled on domestic tours compared to the previous fiscal year. The total number of tours for the year was 3.2% up.

Outbound Market

Tour sales at major travel agencies decreased by 4.8% in March due to the negative influence of the simultaneous terrorist attacksin Paris and devaluation of the yen. Thisled to a decrease in toursales on year‐on‐year basis, with Europe leading the negative trend. On the other hand, North American destinations and Oceania have shown signs of recovery.

Inbound Market  

The toursales of majortravel agencies grew by 31.7% in March (year‐on‐year). The visitsfrom Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and other South‐East Asian countries continued the positive trend thanks to visa waivers introduced for those source markets.

Domestic Market
Compared to the same month last year, domestic travel grew by 8.9% in March. The positive effect of the Hokurikushinkansen continues with the region enjoying a steady visitor flow.   

The Japan Association of Travel Agentsinitiated the “Enjoy Japan to the Full!” campaign on April 1, 2014, promoting the increase of domestic overnights.   

The first commercial, run from the beginning of the campaign, featured popular artists WORLD ORDER and was produced in Hokuriku, which at the time had attracted attention with the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen tracks.  In April 2015, JATA released a promotional video shot in Kyushu, which had garnered popularity as a destination for inbound travelers.  The second video for the year was released in July the same year, and again, introduced the Tohoku region.  

In fiscal year 2016, the campaign isscheduled to introduce Fukushima with a promotional video of WORLD ORDER titled “Miwa’s Tour Diary” released in April.