Some 2.48 million Japanese will go overseas for their summer vacation this year, down from 2.66 million in 2001 and marking the first decline in four years, the nation’s largest travel agency predicted Tuesday.

JTB Corp. attributed the anticipated fall to smaller summer bonuses and lower wages for salaried workers due to the economic slump.

By destination, Hawaii will see the biggest year-on-year decrease — 18.8 percent — while China will see the sharpest increase at 12 percent, JTB said.

JTB’s prediction covers the period from July 15 to Aug. 31 and is based on the responses of 2,200 people to surveys by major travel agents and airlines. The response rate to the questionnaires was 63.1 percent.

On the other hand, the number of domestic travelers will increase 1 percent to 73.69 million, bringing the total number of travelers — both domestic and overseas — to 76.17 million, up 0.7 percent from the previous year.

The total amount of money they will spend, excluding souvenirs bought at destinations, is expected to hit 3.01 trillion yen, down 3.6 percent from the previous year, JTB said.

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