It’s been a full half-year since the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) issued its last quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends. For the travel trade in Japan, it seems to have been worth the wait, as the Survey now has projections for both outbound and inbound travel. Previously, it concerned itself with outbound travel only. As for those in the inbound tourism industry in the United States, the data are about the only reliable indicator of how the third largest overseas source market (the UK and China are Number 1 and 2) to the USA is currently performing, and is expected to perform through the end of the summer travel season.
Key Numbers: The report, which is written in a style that would make the results of a dental exam sound dramatic, indicates that, according to JATA’s survey of tour operators, travel agents and other key travel trade professionals in Japan, current numbers (for the first quarter, when the survey was conducted) suggest that overseas visits to the USA are at about the same level they’ve been for a year. There is the hint, however, from the trade believes that traffic to the U.S. should pick up in the third quarter of this year.
And when one looks at specific segments within the entire Japanese overseas outbound market, there are indications that family travel, student travel and “female office workers” (once called the “office ladies” market) should perform well through the second and third quarters of this year. Also of interest is the improvement in confidence in the individual tours segment, which is expected to increase by a third between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018.
Before You Review the Tables: It is important to understand the methodology behind the compilation and preparation of the Survey of Travel Market Trends. JATA asks all member companies to register as survey monitors. It conducts the quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends that involves 588 registered companies and publishes the results. The Survey of Travel Market Trends is designed to grasp trends in the travel market based on responses to questions on current conditions and those anticipated over the next three months. The survey asks participating companies to rate their sales results for each destination and customer segment by choosing from three categories: “good,” “average,” and “poor.” For items outside their business scope, respondents select “do not handle.” Each share of “good,” “average,” and “poor” is then divided respectively by the denominator, which is equal to the total number of responses minus the “do not handle” (including “no reply”) responses. Finally, each share is processed into a Diffusion Index (DI) by subtracting the percentage of “poor” from the percentage of “good.”The highest possible index figure is +100, and the lowest is -100.