National

Japan’s year-end and New Year travelers projected to hit record high, JTB says

JIJI

The number of people in Japan who will take overnight or longer trips during the year-end and New Year holidays is projected to hit an all-time high for the first time in three years, major travel agency JTB Corp. said Thursday.

The number of people departing on such trips between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3 is expected to grow 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 30,628,000, according to the company.

People going abroad are forecast to increase 4.3 percent to 734,000, posting a record high for the second consecutive year, while those taking domestic trips are seen growing 1.1 percent to 29,894,000.

The JTB estimated the figures based on its questionnaire surveys, the status of flight reservations and other data.

Regarding the reasons for the robust estimates, JTB said that this year’s winter bonuses are expected to increase from levels seen the year before and that people will be able to take nine straight days off from Dec. 29 through Jan. 6 if they take leave on Jan. 4 — a Friday and the first business day of 2019.

The average expense per person for domestic travel, including transportation and accommodation fees, is expected to grow 3.4 percent to ¥33,000, while that for overseas travel is seen rising 3.9 percent to ¥214,000.

The number of travelers to Europe is likely to increase 5.6 percent, larger than the growth of 1.9 percent seen the year before, as people will be able to take a longer vacation, JTB said.