◆ Shi Yin
On September 20, the Japan Government Tourism Organization (JNTO) released data showing that the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan reached 2,156,900 in August, exceeding 2 million for three consecutive months. This is the first time since the pandemic that it has recovered to about 80% of pre-pandemic levels. Among them, the data for August reached the level of 85.6% compared with the same period in 2019.
The number of tourists visiting Japan has recovered
In terms of geographical distribution and growth rate of tourists, South Korea had the largest number of tourists, reaching 569,100, an increase of 184.3% over 2019. followed by Taiwan, with 396,300 people, an increase of 94.3% over 2019; Hong Kong visited Japan with 206,300 visitors, an increase of 108.4% over 2019. Chinese mainland affected by the Fukushima incident, there were 364,100 tourists, an increase of only 36.4% compared with 2019, which is not as good as other regions, but it also reflects the goodwill of the Chinese people, and peace and exchanges are the main theme and common aspirations of the two peoples.
Why did this happen in Japan's tourism industry in August? This is mainly due to the following reasons:
In the post-pandemic era, tourists from Asia and North America are on the rise
Hong Kong in East Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, and Canada and the United States in North America are the main drivers of this growth. There has been a steady recovery, and of course, this recovery has not only been the number of visitors to Japan, but also the number of Japanese tourists traveling abroad.
In January, the number of Japanese tourists abroad was only 443,105, then climbed at a pace of 100,000 per month, and after a brief adjustment in April-May, it resumed its monthly growth momentum again in June, and reached a blowout of 1,201,200 in August, almost tripling from January's figure. So it's not so much the rise in tourists from Asia and North America, but the most fundamental reason is the rebound in the post-pandemic era.
Southeast Asian tourists visiting Japan are growing rapidly
Seasonal factors such as summer vacation, as well as favorable policies
Since August is the summer vacation in Asian countries and regions, it has been the peak season for tourism for many years, and it is not surprising that the data in August is good. Specifically, summer vacation in South Korea runs from late July to late August; Summer vacation in Hong Kong and Taiwan is from the end of June to the end of August; This year, the summer vacation for Japanese adults is from August 13 to 16, and for students about 40 days from late July to the end of August. From the above holiday distribution, it can be seen that August is the most overlapping time period for the summer vacation of the above countries and regions.
Of course, it's not just seasonality, but also some policy support factors. On March 31, 2023, the Japanese Diet adopted the new Basic Plan for Establishing a Tourism Country. In order to resume the development of the tourism industry, we have strengthened cooperation with private operators and overseas travel companies, and adopted a series of promotion policies and support, such as relaxing customs clearance restrictions, and this blowout in the tourism industry is also related to this policy support.
Various travel companies have launched summer vacation travel plans
3. Resumption and increase of international flights
With the recovery of tourism in the post-pandemic era, flights have increased in many countries and regions. South Korea, for example, increased the number of flights between Incheon and Matsusan, Incheon and Narita, and Busan and Fukuoka; The number of flights between mainland Shanghai and Toyama, Shanghai and Narita, and Shanghai and Fukuoka has also increased significantly compared with the same period last year, and the increase in flights has also led to a decline in air ticket prices, so overseas Chinese who are returning to China now will obviously feel that air tickets are much cheaper than during the epidemic.
With the recovery of Japan's tourism industry, Nikkei-related stocks also came out of a wave, and ANA shares rose from a low of around 2,400 yen to around 3,500 yen in July-August this year; JAL shares rose from a low of around 2,200 yen to around 3,200 yen in July-August. Although there was a correction in September, the market is still promising, which mainly depends on the recovery of Japan's tourism industry, if it can fully recover to the pre-epidemic level, there will be considerable room for improvement in the later period.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) stock price trend in the past 1 year
For Chinese people in Japan who like to invest in homestays, the recovery of Japan's tourism industry is also very good news, and many Chinese travel agencies have also experienced overcrowding and understaffing. Seizing this wave of dividends will be a very good business opportunity.