Japan inbound travel took another year-on-year hit for October, 3rd month in a row now at -5.9% compared to October 2007 but year to date figures were still up 4.3% at 300,700 more visitors than 2007 and figures from four countries were at an all-time high.
Main reasons for the decline were strong yen (especially vs the Korean won), fewer flights from many countries, continued high fuel charges, and a general slump in consumption due to global financial situation. Visitors from Korea (-15%), USA (-14%), Australia (-10%), Canada (-8%), and UK (-8%) were affected strongest, again the rapidly strengthened yen was the most major factor.
Growth continued from Hong Kong (+42%), Singapore (+10%), Thailand (+10%), and France (+6%) inbound visitors due to the Visit Japan campaign efforts and promotion, various events, and the continued Okinawa boom. The number of visitors from all of these countries were at all-time highs.
We expect to see increased demand from the now declining fuel charges shortly but the cost of going to Japan (due to exchange rate) from particularly Korea and Australia / NZ has risen rapidly so we expect that it may take more time for across the board growth to recover. In the short term, growth from short-haul countries will probably increase pushing demand from Hong Kong and Singapore, and in the mid-term we expect more demand from China mainland.