Do not forget about Japanese tourists

Euromonitor tells trade Japan must not be overlooked

Caroline Bremner, travel and tourism research manager at Euromonitor International, says that while Europe can be forgiven for being seduced by the promise of growing numbers of incoming Chinese visitors, Japan must not be forgotten.

Japan has been in the economic doldrums for the past 20 years, facing deflation, low consumer confidence and the impact of an earthquake and tsunami. It is very likely that tourists from China will soon dwarf the number of Japanese tourists. But it would be wise to ensure that traditional international source markets are well catered for, particularly when the average spending of Japanese visitors is expected to rise.

The Japan Travel Bureau Foundation says that Europe has recovered its popularity as a destination for Japanese travellers, topping the destination popularity league and posting the strongest growth in “motivation to return” scores.

During the EuroZone crisis, despite Europe’s economic woes, the region succeeded in attracting increased numbers of Japanese visitors. The outlook for Europe appears positive, with arrivals to key European countries set to rise by 10% and incoming tourist receipts by more than 26% over 2012-2017, according to Euromonitor International.

Increased capacity inter-regionally is a textbook way of boosting tourism flows quickly, so with bigger capacity from European carriers such as Finnair and IAG’s Iberia, capacity is growing.

Europe is particularly popular with experienced leisure visitors from Japan, accounting for 68% of visitors in 2012, with the strongest growth exhibited by the middle-age category (aged 35-49). Europe is a destination that appeals to this age group, with its offer of history, culture, heritage, art and diverse countries to explore.

However, Europe is falling short in attracting inexperienced young travellers, with their share of outbound travel shrinking to 13% in 2012, suggesting that new Japanese visitors are on the wane. More could be done to reassure first-time travellers to Europe about the quality of service they can expect to get in-destination with language help and customised services to accommodate Japanese tastes. Destinations could try and better understand young travellers’ tastes to encourage them to leave the security of Japan, Euromonitor suggests, through engaging with them on social media.


[photo by Cecilia Larsson Lantz/]

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