Japan’s travel industry is witnessing a remarkable resurgence, with domestic travel projected to exceed pre-COVID-19 levels this summer. As vaccination rates rise and travel restrictions ease, flight, train, and hotel bookings have surged compared to the same period last year.
According to ANA Holdings, the parent company of All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Peach, flight bookings for ANA-affiliated airlines during Japan’s Obon festival in mid-August have seen a significant rise of 30%. ANA’s total passenger capacity of 1.79 million seats is now 3% higher than the same period in 2019, marking the first time it has surpassed pre-pandemic levels for the long weekend.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has also reported a boost in domestic flight bookings during the Obon festival, with a 16% increase to 1.16 million seats, accounting for 94% of the figures from 2019. The combined efforts of all 11 Japanese airlines have led to a notable 23% year-on-year increase in domestic passenger bookings, totaling 3.68 million seats.
The international flight segment is also showing signs of recovery. ANA recorded outbound flight bookings from Japan during Obon at about 50% of pre-COVID-19 numbers, a significant improvement compared to the 30% recorded during the Golden Week holiday in May. Similarly, Japan Airlines witnessed a remarkable 58% rise in outbound bookings from Japan, amounting to 210,000 seats, representing approximately 70% of the pre-pandemic figures.
In addition to air travel, rail travel is also experiencing a surge during Obon. Japan Railways reported a significant increase of about 50% in passenger bookings from six companies, totaling 2.7 million seats year on year. These bookings accounted for approximately 90% of the total bookings made in 2018, indicating a substantial rebound in rail travel demand.
The revival of Japan’s travel industry can be attributed to a combination of factors. The country’s successful vaccination campaign has instilled confidence in travelers, enabling them to explore domestic and international destinations with reduced concerns about the virus. Furthermore, the easing of travel restrictions both within Japan and for outbound trips has encouraged people to venture out and rediscover their love for travel.
As the travel industry bounces back, businesses related to tourism and hospitality are also experiencing a much-needed boost in revenue. Hotels and restaurants are witnessing a surge in bookings, contributing to the overall economic recovery of the country.
However, it is essential to remain cautious as the travel industry navigates its way towards full recovery. Monitoring the COVID-19 situation, ensuring safety protocols, and keeping up vaccination efforts will play a crucial role in sustaining the positive momentum and preventing any setbacks in the future.
In conclusion, Japan’s travel industry is witnessing a remarkable resurgence as domestic travel surpasses pre-COVID-19 levels this summer. The steady increase in flight and rail bookings reflects the growing confidence among travelers and the gradual return to a sense of normalcy in the post-pandemic era. As the summer season unfolds, the industry’s recovery is likely to provide a much-needed boost to the economy and foster optimism for the future of travel in Japan.