Japanese Travel Trade Has the Blahs for Visit USA Business: The results of the latest quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends by the Japan Association Travel Agents (JATA) shows that the key tour operators and travel agents who make up the pool of respondents to the current survey say that travel to the USA will be sliding slightly downward in the second quarter of 2020. This is the first such downturn, however slight it is, in more than a year’s worth of surveys. (The current survey was conducted in mid-November; it takes JATA a while to post results. The latest survey report was just recently posted.)
The decline outbound travel overall, not just to the U.S., and attributable to various factors, JATA reported. For instance, as the number of flights between japan and South Korea was reduced, demand for South Korea declined and the negative influence of the unrest in Hong Kong led to the general decline of DI (Diffusion Index—see the note on methodology at the end of this article for an explanation) for Asia, which until the previous quarter was in positive territory.
The overseas travel DI decreased 4 points from the level of the Q3 is currently at -19 level. During the next quarter (January – March), it is expected to decrease again by 4 points and reach -23. Suring the first quarter of FY 2020 (April – June), it will be one point below the current quarter’ s level, at -20.
Trends in Overseas Group Travel Demand—Group Travel: Educational tours, which saw a growing demand in July – September, lost 10 points, falling down to -20 in the final quarter. In January – March, demand for incentive tours is expected to remain the same, while that for business/technical visits and educational travel are expected to decline. In the April – June quarter, the decline in demand is expected to continue upcoming
Trends in Overseas Travel Demand-FIT:
The demand for FIT tours by seniors grew by 4 points over the level of the first three months of 2019 and reached -9 level. Student and family travel have seen a significant decline of 11 and 10 points respectively. In the current quarter (January – March), demand by students and working women is expected to increase.
A Note on Methodology: The Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) asks all member companies to register as survey monitors. JATA conducts the quarterly Survey of Travel Market Trends involving 644 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 the 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.
The internet survey that produced the results above, was conducted from Nov. 5-22, 2019. The response rate among those who received the survey was 42.9 percent (276 of 644 registered companies.)
INBOUND should point out that the survey was conducted well before the coronavirus scare/crisis became a dominant concern worldwide. This will obviously have an impact on Japanese outbound travel to China. The virus was first discovered in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Central China.