July 1, 2013
  • Rakuten Travel

Rakuten Travel
Reveals Travel Trends for Summer 2013

Domestic tourism up 31.7% from last year to new record;
Registration of Mt. Fuji as a World Heritage site boosts
visits to Fuji-Fujinomiya area of Shizuoka by 74.2%
Inbound tourism up 250% returning to pre-March 2011 levels

TOKYO, July 1, 2013 ― Rakuten Travel Inc. today announced the trends of domestic and international travel reservations for the summer holiday period between July 19 and August 31, 2013. 

Summary of Summer 2013 Travel Trends

Period: July 19 to August 31, 2013 

Domestic tourism

Domestic accommodation: +31.7% (YoY)
By area – Fukushima Prefecture: +85.6%, Shimane Prefecture: +85.6%, Kagawa Prefecture: +76.1% (YoY)
Domestic Dynamic Packages (ANA Raku Pack, JAL Raku Pack): +22.2%(YoY)

Outbound tourism

Overseas accommodation: -4.8% (YoY)
By area – Singapore: +138.5%, Hawaii (Honolulu, Oahu): +52.3%, Thailand: +26.4%

Domestic Tourism Topics

The domestic travel sector will hit a new record over the summer holiday period, with reservations up 31.7% from last summer. Significantly better visitor numbers than last year will be seen in all areas. The formal inscription of Mt. Fuji as a UNESCO World Heritage site will boost tourism to the Fuji and Fujinomiya area in Shizuoka Prefecture by 74.2% YoY, an area on the rise since Golden Week. Shimane Prefecture, benefiting from the Ceremonial Rebuilding of Izumo Grand Shrine, is seeing an 85.6% increase in visitor numbers, and Fukushima will also enjoy an 85.6% YoY increase as the location of an unwaveringly popular NHK period drama. Kagawa Prefecture bookings are up a dramatic 76.1% YoY due to the Setouchi Triennale. Moreover, there is a 3.4% rise in per capita travel spending.

Big boost for Mt. Fuji region in wake of World Heritage listing
The Mt. Fuji area, which was inscribed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on June 22, has seen a rising trend in bookings since Golden Week. The Fuji-Fujinomiya area of Shizuoka Prefecture is up 74.2% YoY, bookings for the Lake Yamanaka area in Yamanashi Prefecture have risen 65.6%, and those for the Miho-no-Matsubara area are up 33.3% as a result of the surprise UNESCO listing. The positive effect appears to be spreading, as areas more easily booked but still affording fine views of the mountain are also receiving a boost: Otsuki and Tsuru in Yamanashi Prefecture are up 86.6%, while Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture bookings are up 89.2%.    

■ NHK period drama, now morning drama series drive popularity of Tohoku
Fukushima Prefecture bookings are up 85.6% over last year as the location of the NHK period drama, Yae-no-Sakura. The Aizu-Wakamatsu region is proving especially popular for its locations, with an increase of 104.8%. The Kuji area of Iwate Prefecture is seeing an influx of tourism as the location of the NHK morning drama, Amachan, increasing 89.4%. In western Japan, the Ceremonial Rebuilding of the Izumo Grand Shrine is drawing interest, and added to the completion of the Matsue Expressway, bookings for Shimane Prefecture are up 85.6%. Kagawa Prefecture is seeing an increase of 76.1% as domestic and foreign visitors flock to the Setouchi Triennale. In fact, domestic bookings are growing at a higher rate in every region than at the same time last year.

■ Summer holidays this year trending upscale and longer
According to a survey of (planned) travel days, the average tour this summer will average 2.74 nights, an increase of 0.12 days from last year. Last year, the largest number answered that they would be staying away was for one night, whereas this year the most frequent response was two nights, showing that the number of summer holidays travel days is increasing. Moreover, our survey of travel budgets per traveller found that around 35% would be spending “over 50,000 yen.” When asked if they had a bigger travel budget than the previous year, some 25% of customers replied in the affirmative. In summary, the data shows that people are spending more and traveling longer for this year’s summer holidays.        

Smartphone bookings triple from women aged over 50
As the use of smartphones continues to rise, the devices used for booking travel have changed markedly. Customers using their smartphones to book summer travel have increased 158.1%, but the most extraordinary growth was among women in their 50s and older, who have tripled their use of smartphones for booking since last summer.

Outbound tourism topics

China and South Korea drag down figures, but passenger numbers and spending grow elsewhere, especially in Southeast Asia
Overall, overseas accommodation nights are down 4.8% since last summer as weak demand for travel to China and South Korea continues. Excluding China and South Korea, however, the figure was up 17%, with Singapore nights up 138.5%, Thailand up 26.4% and Taiwan increasing 22.7%. Among the resort destinations, Hawaii (Honolulu/Oahu) is seeing 52.3% more bookings. Average spending per night, per traveller excluding China and South Korea rose 24.6% and overall spending excluding those destinations grew a marked 45.8%. In highly popular destinations such as Singapore and Hawaii, the trend is for couples and families to book high-end hotels in order to enjoy a luxurious stay in one place. 

Inbound tourism topics

Foreign visitor bookings return to pre-disaster levels, up 250% from last summer
The number of foreigners visiting Japan is growing, helped by a yen depreciation. The largest source countries are in Asia and the Americas, with Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States the top three in that order. One hot destination is the Lake Kawaguchi area in Yamanashi Prefecture, which has seen a six-fold increase in bookings, particularly from the US, Australia and Europe. Also popular are Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture and the Setouchi Triennale in Kagawa Prefecture, as more travellers focus on western Japan using Kansai International Airport as their gateway.

Conditions of the Travel Trends Survey

Based on a comparison of accommodation bookings made over the same period last year, as of June 20
- Period: Friday, July 19 to Saturday, August 31, 2013
- Domestic travel: Domestic accommodation, ANA Raku Pack, JAL Raku Pack
- International travel: International accommodation
- Inbound travel: Accommodation of foreign tourists

Survey summary

- Area: All of Japan
- Respondents: Members subscribing to Rakuten Travel News (online)
- Sample size: 501
- Survey period: Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, 2013
- Organization: Rakuten Travel Inc.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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