Japan is still one of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations, according to a new survey. Despite the downturn in visitor arrivals to Japan seen since the 11 March disasters, the country ranked as the third most desired place to visit in the Visa Global Travel Intentions Survey 2011.
The survey, which polled 11,620 people from 23 countries around the world, found that the United States was the country most people are likely to travel to in the next two years (20 percent of respondents), followed by the UK (19 percent) and Japan (16 percent). France and Italy (both 15 percent) came fourth and fifth.
Ross Jackson, Visa’s Head of Cross-Border Business for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: “While Japan has always been a firm favourite among travellers from Asia Pacific as has been noted in both this year’s and our previous surveys, we re-ran the survey in two of Japan’s key source markets, mainland China and South Korea, in August this year to assess how much the March tsunami affected traveller sentiments. The survey, very encouragingly, found that Chinese and South Korean respondents still rank Japan among their top destinations. More than one in three (34 percent) respondents from Mainland China and one in four (24 percent) respondents from South Korea said they are likely to travel to Japan in the next two years. This is in line with Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Destination Trends3 that international arrivals to Japan have picked up slightly post-tsunami. Our survey findings present great news hinting at a strong recovery and boost for the afflicted Japanese economy.”
The research showed that the global average spend for the last trip taken by respondents in the past two years was US$1,481, rising to an expected global average of US$1,895 when travelling in the coming two years.
Results from the survey also reveal that the highest spenders were respondents from Australia who spent an average of US$3,636 in their last trip. Respondents from Saudi Arabia were the next highest spenders who spent an average of US$3,129 on their last trip. Projected spending in the next two years also demonstrates that respondents from Australia again look to be the highest spenders, with a projected average travel budget of US$3,582.
The survey also found the availability of good deals (70 percent), natural scenery (69 percent), political stability and good weather (both 66 percent), and new destinations (65 percent) as top factors which influence travellers’ choice of destinations.
On average, respondents are planning to make four international trips in the next two years, with 11 percent more respondents intending to travel in the next two years, compared with the last two years. Most travellers indicated they intend to spend an average of 10 nights on their next vacation.
Almost half of all those surveyed (47 percent) said they intend to arrange their trips themselves by booking directly with hotels and airlines. Flexible individual tours which allow travellers to choose their own activities are the next most preferred way to travel (28 percent), followed by packaged group tours (18 percent). Before leaving for their trip, global travellers are most likely to get their travel information from online sources (55 percent) rather than offline sources (43 percent). Top websites among global respondents included TripAdvisor (29 percent), Travelocity (29 percent) and Lonely Planet (23 percent).
More than three in five (62 percent) respondents said they are likely to engage in outdoor activities when they are on an overseas holiday trip. Half of all those surveyed (50 percent) intend to sample local cuisine and experience the local nightlife scene (49 percent). Travellers are also seeking to take up beauty/ health and wellness treatments (37 percent) and attend music events as well as learn a new skill (both 36 percent) in their upcoming holidays.
Travellers surveyed are most keen to stay at three to four-star hotels (52 percent), followed by stay-overs at their friends’ or relatives’ (16 percent). Budget hotels and hotels rated five-star and above (both 14 percent) are equally popular among travellers.
Most travellers tend to holiday with their spouse or partner, with 43 percent saying they are intending to do so in the next two years. Holidaying with family and relatives (40 percent) is the next most popular choice, followed by travelling with friends (23 percent).