Expedia sees signs of post-tsunami bounce in Japan tourism

Expedia sees signs of post-tsunami bounce in Japan tourism

A recovery in UK tourism to Japan is being recorded following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, according to Expedia.

The company reported a 19% rise in searches for the country ahead of the annual cherry blossom season.

Looking at the season that runs mainly from late March to mid-April, there was a 30% increase in searches for Japan across Expedia globally.

The top five searched for destinations in 2013 include:

1. Tokyo
2. Kyoto
3. Osaka
4. Fukuoka
5. Hiroshima

Expedia.co.uk saw a 48% increase in bookings to Japan last year and a 49% jump in bookings for Tokyo compared to 2011.

This outpaced overall growth figures for Japan, following efforts by the Japan National Tourism Organisation to encourage tourists back to the country following the disaster.

Tourism to Japan showed healthy growth and was stronger than the global average prior to the earthquake. From January to March 1, 2011, tourism was 24% above average, while global tourism stood at just 19% above average.

But the number of international tourist plummeted by 60% in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Efforts were then made by the JNTO and industry partners to show that many parts of Japan, including popular holiday destinations such as Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Mount Fuji, Nagasaki and Okinawa, outside the affected area of north-eastern Japan, received no disruption to infrastructure.

Expedia.co.uk managing director Andy Washington said: “Japan has grown in popularity over the past few years, and 2013 looks set to be a great year for visitor numbers.

“We were very pleased to have been able to work with the Jnto following the earthquake in 2011.

“The campaign which ran from July to October 2011 helped reassure travellers that Japan was open to visitors and achieved a 40% gain in tourism in just eight weeks.

“It’s certainly very encouraging to see that Japan’s popularity continues to rise today and with the current strength of the pound against the yen and great deals for tourists, we hope more Brits will take advantage of the great value and the warm welcome that Japan offers for those visiting particularly at this time.”

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