Japanese wholesalers push US tours for second half – 08/06/05

JAPAN/US. Japan’s major travel wholesalers are pushing US travel hard this year, increasing the number of package tours during the first half of the fiscal year from 1 April to 30 September, Travel Journal International (TJI) Online reports.

That’s good news for US tourism-related companies which have suffered from weakened demand since October 2004, with each month posting negative year-on-year growth through February 2005. In the first two months of 2005, traffic was down by -12.1% year-on-year, according to statistics by the Office of Tourism and Travel Industries (OTTI).

Citing the semi-annual survey of “˜Major Japanese Tour Wholesale Series Products’ by Tokyo-based Trans Web, TJI said the total number of fiscal first half courses in package tours rose to 3,190, up +6.7% compared to the previous six months (1 October to 31 March 2005).

The study represents nine leading brand package tours promoted by eight wholesalers in Japan. It covers standard tour itineraries for which each itinerary is counted as one tour course. Optional tour packages, which require extra stay, are excluded in the study results.

“The count of tour departures grew +12.1% to 569,105 from 507,874, reflecting wholesalers’ hopes to boost the number of Japanese travellers to the US mainland,” TJI wrote.

The survey includes the following brands and wholesalers: Look JTB (Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai and Osaka) by JTB World Vacations; Holiday (Tokyo, Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka) by Kinki Nippon Tourist Co; I’ll (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo) by Jalpak Co; AVA (Tokyo, Nagoya and Sapporo) by Jalpak; Mach/Best (Tokyo, Sapporo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka); Look World (Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo) by Nippon Express Co; Hallo Tour (Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Sendai) by ANA Sales & Tours Co; and Ciao (Tokyo) by H.I.S.

Centrair opening and new routes boost traffic

United Airlines’ new daily service from Chubu International Airport (Centrair) in Nagoya to San Francisco, which began on 28 March, has allowed wholesalers the opportunity to create new package tours from Nagoya, TJI said.

This has boosted courses and departures for San Francisco considerably. San Francisco’s share of courses for the period grew from 10% to 10.8% while the share of departures increased from 9.5% to 11%, according to the study.

However, San Francisco follows all the other destinations – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and New York – covered in the five-city study. Las Vegas continues to have the largest share of courses (60.2%, up from 59.6%) and departures (59.2%, ahead of 58.9%).

[Note: Because figures represent both mono- and multiple-destination tours, shares do not add up to 100%.]

TJI said that the ongoing developments in new hotels, renovations and additions, including the recently-opened Wynn Resorts, have fueled wholesalers’ strong interest in the production of Las Vegas packages.
Los Angeles follows Las Vegas in terms of departures in package tours with 223,939, or a 39.3% share. The figure is a 9.8% rise from the previous period. For tour courses, it had a 39.2% share (1,201).

“With Disneyland celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, wholesalers have introduced commemorative packages featuring Los Angeles (Disneyland) and Orlando (Disney World). Also, multi-destination Disney packages pairing Los Angeles and Las Vegas have been released this period,” TJI continued.

New York posted an 18% share of departures (102,450), down from the 19.6% share it had previously. It has a 17% share (541) of courses, behind the 18.8% share in the second half of 2004.

Orlando is next with a 16.2% share of all departures this period, up 11.9% from a year ago. The number of courses grew 3.3% to 501 for a 15.7% share.

*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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US sees +12% rise in Japanese visitors in 2005; big growth in Chinese and Indian markets – 25/05/05

Japan and Australia target sharp growth in mutual visitor numbers – 24/05/05

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