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WTTC announces Japan’s travel and tourism industry showing clear sign of recovery

WTTC announces Japan’s travel and tourism industry showing clear sign of recovery

According to the report, “The Tohoku Pacific Earthquake and Tsunami: Impact on Travel&Tourism - Update September 2011,” Japan’s tourism is showing a strong recovery. Data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and STR Global suggest that the recovery is broadly in line with WTTC’s “low-impact scenario” (presented in WTTC’s report from May 2011), which states that international tourist arrivals will recover in numbers by early 2012, along with a faster recovery in Japan’s own domestic travel and tourism demand.

Such grounds for optimism are partly the result of the appreciating yen boosting overseas travel and positive news on the containment at the Fukushima nuclear plant. A forceful marketing campaign by the Japan Tourism Agency, which will include public-private partnership initiatives also ensures a quicker recovery of Japan’s inbound tourism.

David Scowsill stated: “As the world’s third largest travel and tourism economy in the world, the recovery of Japan is one of the most compelling issues facing the industry anywhere in the world. In a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, he expressed the government’s gratitude that WTTC will bring the industry’s leaders to Sendai and Tokyo during the Global Summit in April 2012. It sends a clear message about our commitment to showing that Japan in general, and the Tohoku region in particular, have recovered from the tragic events of March 11 and are ready to rediscover their position among the world’s premier tourism destinations.”

The first report, launched at WTTC’s Global Summit in Las Vegas in May, set three recovery scenarios and suggested that the overall impact of the earthquake and tsunami could range from a reduction of ¥0.9 trillion (low-impact scenario) to ¥1.9 trillion (high-impact scenario) in travel and tourism’s contribution to Japan’s GDP in 2011.

Prior to the March 11, Japan’s travel and tourism was expected to directly contribute ¥10.5 trillion to Japanese GDP in 2011, or 2.2% of total GDP, and to directly provide nearly 1.5 million jobs.


This second report analyzes the recovery using data from JNTO and STR Global. Foreign visitor arrivals in June and July were 36% lower than in the same period last year (JNTO). This compares to falls in April and May of 62% and 50%, respectively. So while a full recovery is still some way off, the situation has improved significantly.

Likewise, STR Global data shows that hotel room demand has improved in June and July, relative to previous months since the quake but was still roughly 5% lower than June and July 2010.

The report also highlights that, according to Oxford Economics estimates, domestic travel demand was only 2% lower in the three months to July 2011 than in the same period in 2010, and may even have been marginally higher than a year earlier in July.

The above data shows that Japan’s travel and tourism is recovering well and that a return to baseline can be expected by early 2012, which is in line with WTTC’s low-impact scenario.

A further update report later this year will revisit the recovery scenarios for Japan’s travel and tourism industry in line with latest data, and will present a revised estimate for the economic impact of the earthquake and tsunami. The final report will be a “one year after” review launched at WTTC’s Global Summit, April 16-19, 2012 in Tokyo/Sendai, Japan.