Business

Record number of people to travel abroad during Japan's 10-day Golden Week, says JTB

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

The number of people who plan to take advantage of this year’s expanded Golden Week holiday period by traveling abroad is projected to rise 6.9 percent from the year before to a record 662,000, according to the latest report on travel trends by leading travel agency JTB Corp.

The number of residents of Japan traveling domestically is also projected to increase by 1.1 percent to reach a record 24.01 million, the report said. This year’s Golden Week runs from April 27 to May 6 due to events surrounding the Imperial succession.

In the JTB report, which was released Thursday, the firm estimated that a record 24.67 million people had travel plans for Golden Week, up 1.2 percent from the previous year.

“Apparently more people are willing to travel this year,” taking advantage of the extended holiday period, Risa Ogata, a spokeswoman for the firm, said Thursday.

She added that the average cost for overseas trips was also expected to hit a record high. JTB estimates that an average traveler will spend ¥268,000 on overseas travel to cover costs such as accommodation and transport.

In Japan, travelers are expected to spend ¥36,800 on services including accommodation, transport and souvenirs.

The firm estimates that residents of Japan will likely spend around ¥1.06 trillion in total between April 27 and May 6, Ogata said.

The findings are based on a survey conducted online from March 20 to March 22 involving 20,000 residents age 15 to 79 from all regions of Japan, with follow-up research conducted with the 2,060 respondents who said they were planning trips around Japan or abroad during the Golden Week holiday.

Around 31.5 percent of those 2,060 said they were given 10 days off or more this year, and 38.6 percent of the respondents said their vacation would be longer than in the previous year. Some 8.3 percent said they were unable to travel during last year’s Golden Week.

However, about 36.9 percent of the respondents planned a two-day trip, and 1 in 3 had plans for a three-day vacation, the company said.

The most popular plan for domestic travelers is to visit their hometowns and spend time with their families, while those planning overseas trips prioritized relaxation, according to the findings.

The survey also showed that 14.5 percent of respondents thought the longer vacation made trips to further-away places more realistic than a year ago.

The research also showed that this year, more people were interested in JTB’s overseas tours to Europe, as well as ship cruises, than in past years, Ogata added.

However, South Korea, Hawaii, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand were among the most popular travel destinations this year.

Those who plan to stay home for Golden Week cited crowds and higher prices during the holiday season, the company said.

The government created the unprecedented 10-day holiday period by designating May 1, the day when Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend to the Chrysanthemum Throne, as a one-off public holiday. Because the law says any day sandwiched between public holidays itself becomes a holiday, April 30 and May 2 became holidays as well.