Japan National Tourist Organisation stated the number of foreign visitors reached a record high of 8.61 million in 2010, a 26.8% year-on-year increase, due mainly to Tokyo Haneda Airport's return to full-fledged international service and the government's easing of restrictions on Chinese citizens to obtain sightseeing visas (Yomiuri Shimbun/Japan Today, 26-Jan-2011). The figure however fell short of the 10 million visitor target set by the Japan Tourism Agency. Reasons behind this include a diplomatic row with China and the yen's prolonged appreciation. By nationality, South Korean visitors were the largest group at 2.44 million (+53.8%), following by Chinese visitors at 1.41 million (+40.5%) and Taiwan at 1.27 million (+23.8%). This was followed by visitors from the US and Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the number of tourists from France, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand reached record highs. Departures from Japan totalled 16.63 million, a 7.7% year-on-year increase.
Foreign visitors to Japan reach record high of 8.6 million in 2010
You may also be interested in the following articles...
China-Japan: Peach, Jetstar Japan & China United the latest LCCs to enter Asia's 3rd largest market
Japan-China is the third largest international country pair in Northeast and Southeast Asia. The market has expanded due to Chinese outbound visitor growth, with Chinese visitor numbers doubling from 2.4 million in 2014 to 5.0 million in 2015, and 9M2016 shows a further 30% expansion. LCCs account for approximately 10% of the market, and there are an expected three further LCC entrants in the Japan-China market: Peach Aviation, Jetstar Japan and China United Airlines. Their entry, however, comes after the major boom: eight airlines have entered the market since 2014.
The impact of the additional LCCs will be minimal in network size: Peach's four weekly Osaka-Shanghai flights are in addition to an existing 117 weekly flights. Over the long term there are strong opportunities for LCCs (as evidenced by the first mover Spring Airlines), but in the near future the greatest impact from additional LCCs will be in reminding Chinese full service airlines of alternative business models and their own need to reform. To a Chinese airline a Japanese LCC is almost paradoxical: an airline trying to be low cost in a high cost country with low population growth. Yet the relative success of Japanese LCCs provides a case study – and also market challenges.
Hong Kong Airlines becomes larger in Japan than in China: overlap with sister HK Express
The rapid growth of mainland China's HNA Group is resulting in companies being added ahead of integration. HNA's two Hong Kong-based airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, are increasingly overlapping with each other. That their roles are undefined and uncoordinated risks the two fighting each other – rather than combining their different propositions to address multiple segments of the markets.
Hong Kong Airlines is rapidly growing in Tokyo and Osaka, and launching a new service to Seoul Incheon – its 11th new destination in 2016. These are strong O&D markets and present a change from Hong Kong Airlines' previous staple of connecting traffic from mainland China over Hong Kong, or competing mainly against Cathay Pacific in key regional Asian markets from Hong Kong.
Following Hong Kong Airlines' entry to Tokyo and Osaka it will further increase services to the point where Japan becomes a larger market for it than mainland China. This is of some concern given Hong Kong Airlines' still evolving strategy for Japan, and weakening of the market through the appreciation of the yen.