Japanese travel agents report strong October/November bookings – 01/11/04

JAPAN. Travel reservations for October and November were up +22% over last year, but bookings for December look sluggish, according to the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA).

Travel Journal International Online (TJI) reports that JATA’s quarterly survey of five major travel agents “showed a robust autumn season”, particularly for China, North America, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Oceania and Asia.

Even though Japanese travel to China had taken longer to return to pre-SARS levels, bookings for October through December are looking strong.

Bookings for China soared +124.3% for October and +180.8% for November. For December the growth is +183.1% compared with a year ago. However, it must be noted that many Japanese were still wary of the SARS threat at this time last year, even though the country had had the all-clear.

The popularity of Korean dramas on Japanese television networks appears to have sparked a ‘Korean boom’ in Japan, says TJI. Bookings for travel to South Korea increased +81.1% for October, +91.1% for November and, to date, +37.5% for December.

Overall, October reservations were up +24.2% year-on-year, while November has seen growth of +22.2%.

For December, however, overall bookings are -5% behind the levels of 2003.

JATA says customers may be hesitant to make bookings as the sequence of days for the year-end holidays is poor.

But, notes TJI, “Last minute bookings could help turn around the final results for travel demand in December.”

Note: The Moodie Report works closely with Travel Journal International Online, which is the pre-eminent provider of information on the Japanese travel industry. To subscribe, please click here.


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