Tourism officials in Tokyo, Osaka and beyond hope more people say konnichiwa to Japan in the years ahead. But will they? We of course have the lastest updates for you.
The Japanese travel and tourism sector saw a moderate growth in inbound tourism during the period of 2009–2013. The number of domestic trips has fallen from 312.5 million in 2009 to 287.0 million in 2013, while the number of international trips rose from 8.4 million in 2009 to 10.4 million in 2013, contributed by tourists from countries such as China, South Korea, the US, Hong Kong and Thailand. Development over the forecast period (2014?2018) will be driven by government tourism promotions and the growing number of low-cost carrier (LCC) flights.
During August 2013, the Japanese Tourism Agency requested JPY12,336 million ( US$127.3 million) from the Japanese government as a budget for 2014 – an increase of 21% from 2013. The three key focus areas are: JPY9,598 million ( US$99.0 million) to promote tourism; JPY1,051 million ( US$10.8 million) for the development of tourism-oriented regions; and JPY65 million ( US$0.6 million) for the promotion of travels. Also included in this budget is the promotion of strategic plans to draw more international tourists, creating new tourism sites, campaign programs for accommodation information services, conducting research on travel safety measures and the reconstruction of Tohoku and Fukushima’s tourism areas with a budget allocation of JPY895 million ( US$9.2 million).
Since the Japanese LCC market is relatively small, many Asian LCC airline companies are gradually increasing their number of flights to Japan. The Philippines’ Cebu Pacific Air increased flights to Kansai Airport from Manila in December 2013, and AirAsia X in Malaysia had started operations from Chubu Airport to Kuala Lumpur in March 2014. Additionally, Peach Aviation began flights from Kansai Airport to Kaohsiung in Taiwan during January 2014, while Vanilla Air (formerly AirAsia Japan; acquired by ANA Holdings Inc. in June 2013) inaugurated a new route from Narita Airport to Seoul in March 2014.
Hoshino Resorts is planning to expand its traditional Japanese hotels known as “Ryokans”, beginning with the construction of 84 in Hoshinoya, Tokyo in 2014, with an expected opening date of 2016. Tokyo Marriott Hotel inaugurated 237 rooms in December 2013, Hyatt’s Andaz Tokyo started with 164 rooms and the Aman Tokyo Hotel are planning to open their hotels by 2014. Hilton Tokyo opened in April 2013, with 630 guest rooms and suites.
In September 2013, Budget Car Rental partnered with JAL in order to provide services with value-added membership benefits and travel offers to more than 26.0 million JAL Mileage Bank members. Budget is the only global car rental company which offers rental savings to these members, and they can earn extra miles when they rent a car in Japan.
Since March 30, 2014 the international airlines slot at Haneda airport has expanded from 56 flights to 90 flights, with travel agencies offering many more overseas package tours. JTB, for example, a leading tour operator in Japan, has doubled the number of international trips to 170 until April 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. The main tourist destinations were Europe and Southeast Asia. ANA has also increased three times the number of trips from Haneda airport to 132 in April 2014, compared to the same period in 2013.
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