The latest Expedia Japan survey on the inbound travel market in the first half of 2015 finds that foreign travelers to Japan on Expedia bookings increased by 190% year on year, and the growth rate in Asia was 246%. Main reasons for the large growth in Asia were depreciation of the yen, increase in LCC flights and promotional activities for local regions, according to Expedia.
In major Asian markets, Osaka was a more popular destination than Tokyo, as the city ranked 1st in Korea and 2nd in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand. No.1 popular destination for Thai travelers was Tokyo. The growth rate of foreign travelers to Osaka was 200%, much higher than 168% to Tokyo, and the visit ratio of Osaka was 76% more in Korea, 6% more in Hong Kong and 4% more in Taiwan than that of Tokyo. In local cities, the high growth rates were found in Okinawa (+263%), Sapporo (+276%), Fukuoka (+226%) and Nagoya (+195%).
The highest year-on-year growth rate of travelers to Japan was founds in Hong Kong (+427%), much higher than +225% in Thailand. The top seven were all Asian markets including Hong Kong and Thailand. As far as the large outbound travel markets of Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand are concerned, Japan was the most popular destination, more popular than U.S.A. or Thailand, in all of the markets.
On Expedia bookings, U.S.A. was the largest market for Tokyo with a share of 30%, but a share of Osaka was just 12%. In contrast, a combined share of travelers from Korea and Hong Kong to Osaka was 46%, lower than 20% to Tokyo. However, the Expedia survey shows that Kyoto welcomed more travelers from U.S.A. and Europe than those from Asia.
Expedia analyzed that major reasons why Osaka was preferred by Asian travelers were cheaper prices than in Tokyo, food tastes preferred by Asian people, a variety of shopping streets and easy-to-go popular tourist destinations in Kasai area, such as Osaka Castle, Kyoto or Kobe.
The most popular overnight area in Osaka based on Expedia bookings was Nanba regardless of nationality. The overnight rate was split into Nanba and Umeda with a share of 30% each among travelers from U.S.A. and Europe, while more than half of travelers from Asia stayed overnights in Nanba.
The data shows a difference of travel routes between travelers from U.S.A. and Europe and travelers from Asia, according to Expedia. Travelers from U.S.A. and Europe tend to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen and then beyond Osaka and return from Osaka to Tokyo by Shinkansen or stay overnight in Nanba to return home from Kansai International Airport. Travelers from Asia tend to fly to Kansai International Airport and stay overnight in Nanba that is located in a convenient area to tour Osaka.