Japan’s outbound demand is still struggling to gain momentum – but inbound is soaring

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While outbound travel demand from Japan is trending in the right direction, the growth rate remains low, and recovery to pre-pandemic levels is proving to be an elusive target for Japanese airlines.

Further weakening of the yen is a major factor in dampening overseas leisure travel, executives from All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) told Aviation Week Network at the recent IATA annual general meeting in Dubai. This is being partially offset by strong inbound demand, but the outbound weakness is still holding back the overall international demand recovery.

The recovery of the Japanese outbound market has been closely watched over the past few years, as it has not followed the trend in other countries: which was a fast rebound after travel restrictions were lifted.

Other factors are involved in addition to the unfavourable exchange rate. As in many countries, the popularity of domestic tourism in Japan surged in the immediate post-pandemic period, and this trend is likely continuing.

Visa issues still persist in the mainland China market, which is inhibiting Japanese tourism. And for many airlines serving Japan, fleet sizes are still down from pre-pandemic levels.

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This article was written on 10-Jun-2024.