Australian arrivals to Japan – best numbers to date
SYDNEY March 13, 2013 – Two years have passed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami and Japan is back on track with the best winter season ever.
Preliminary inbound visitor numbers for 2012 released by Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) indicate that Australian arrivals to Japan reached a total of 206,600, 27% (44,022 people) increase compared to 2011.
January 2013 alone saw a total of 31,700 Australians visit the country, which is the highest number on record. This was an increase of 42.6% (or 9,500 people) compared to the same month in 2012. The figure also surpassed the 30,689 people in January 2011, which was the highest number of Australian visitors at the time. Overseas arrivals across all markets in 2012 were up 34.6% from previous year, to 8.4million.
JNTO cited a number of contributors to the growth in visitor numbers, such as the perfect powder snow conditions for 2012/2013 ski season and the increased demand for skiing in Japan, the strong Australian dollar and its continuous promotional efforts in the Australian market. The weak yen makes Japan an attractive and cost effective travel destination for Australians, where they can get the most for their dollar. As of March 12, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, AUD1 will buy you JPY99.2. For example, the 7-day JR Pass, which allows unlimited use of the bullet trains and other trains on the JR network throughout Japan, can now be purchased for under $300.
JNTO’s Executive Director, Hiroshi Kuwamoto commented “Now is a great time to visit Japan. Not only can you get more yen for your dollar, but also Japan is entering spring, a great season to visit with beautiful cherry blossoms and fine weather. We have seen a positive demand for cherry blossom tours and many are already at capacity. ”
The figures released by JNTO are based on arrivals of Australian passport holders and include business, leisure and stopover visitors.