Two Million Tourists Say Konnichiwa to Japan's Third Straight August Madness

Two Million Tourists Say Konnichiwa to Japan's Third Straight August Madness

By Author

Published on September 23, 2023

In a significant milestone, Japan welcomed 2 million visitors for the third consecutive month in August, marking a remarkable recovery to over 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to official data released on Wednesday. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) reported that the number of foreign visitors, both for business and leisure, reached 2.16 million last month.

These figures represent an impressive achievement, with visitor arrivals rebounding to 85.6 percent of the levels seen in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered widespread travel restrictions worldwide. While August's numbers dipped slightly from the post-pandemic high of 2.32 million visitors in July, the recovery is undeniably ongoing. Factors contributing to this resurgence include an increase in international flight availability and a weakened yen, making trips to Japan more affordable than they have been in decades.

Interestingly, visitor numbers from the United States, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels, as indicated by JNTO data. This positive trend helps offset the lagging visitor numbers from China, which still fall significantly below 2019 levels.

Notably, there were 364,100 visitors from China in August, marking a 16 percent increase over the previous month. This uptick can be attributed to Beijing's decision to lift restrictions on group travel to Japan. Chinese travellers accounted for approximately 30 percent of all visitors and contributed to 40 percent of all tourist spending in Japan back in 2019. The removal of the group travel ban is anticipated to provide a substantial boost to inbound visitor spending, as noted by Masato Koike, an economist at Sompo Institute Plus.

In August, 364,100 Chinese visitors arrived, marking a 16% increase, thanks to Beijing's lifted group travel restrictions. In 2019, Chinese tourists constituted 30% of all visitors and contributed 40% of tourist spending. Masato Koike from Sompo Institute Plus anticipates a substantial boost in inbound visitor spending due to the group travel ban removal.

Japan's tourism came to a halt for over two years during the pandemic. Recovery started when the government resumed visa-free travel in October 2022 and lifted all COVID controls in May 2023. From January to August 2023, over 15 million visitors arrived, still far from 2019's record pace of about 32 million, per JNTO data.


Trip.com's Global 3.3 Sale Hits Record High in Asia and Europe

Trip.com's Global 3.3 Sale Hits Record High in Asia and Europe

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 1, 2024

In the world of online shopping, double-date promotions like Black Friday and Double 11 have become hotspots for bargain hunters globally. Following this trend, Trip.com's March 3.3 sale has carved its own niche, especially in the travel sector, capturing significant attention across Asia and Europe. This year's campaign not only continued the momentum but also set new records in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) and mobile app downloads.

With over 700 million impressions and a considerable year-over-year traffic increase, the 3.3 mega sale showcased its growing popularity and the public's eagerness for travel deals. Markets across the APAC region and Europe saw robust sales, with Japan standing out for its exceptional performance.

One of the most notable achievements of this year's event was the surge in Trip.com app downloads. The app secured the top spot in the free travel app rankings on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in several key markets, including Hong Kong SAR, South Korea, and Singapore.

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Schubert Lou, COO of Trip.com, expressed immense pride in the success of the 3.3 Mega Sale, stating, "We are confident that our double-date promotions will continue to attract global customers who seek to travel in style and comfort with the best possible deals." He also highlighted the all-in-one app's growing popularity as evidence of Trip.com's commitment to providing unbeatable deals on flights, hotels, and attractions worldwide.

The 3.3 sale is part of Trip.com's broader strategy to engage customers through double-date promotions, including future dates like 7.7, 9.9, and 11.11. These events offer exclusive discounts and special offers, allowing consumers to enjoy unique travel experiences at reduced prices.

Trip.com, a leading international one-stop travel service provider, offers an extensive network of over 1.2 million hotels and flights from more than 510 airlines, covering 3,400 airports in 220 countries and regions. With its world-class multilingual customer service, Trip.com continues to "create the best travel experience" for millions of customers worldwide.

As Trip.com forges ahead in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape, the success of its double-date promotions signals more exciting deals for travellers in the future.


Bhutan Launches Druk Neykor for Spiritual Journeys

Bhutan Launches Druk Neykor for Spiritual Journeys

By Nishang Narayan

Published on March 29, 2024

The Department of Tourism in Bhutan has unveiled a new initiative called the Druk Neykor programme, designed to enrich the travel experience by guiding visitors through 108 sacred sites and monuments across the enchanting Himalayan kingdom. Aimed at travellers looking to dive deep into Bhutan’s spiritual essence and cultural heritage, the programme promises an immersive exploration unlike any other.

Starting in the capital city, Thimphu, the Druk Neykor programme features tours to 16 standout sites, such as the revered Wangditse Lhakhang, Tshelung Ney, and Talangkha Drugyel Goenpa. These sites are not just about spirituality; they also offer a chance to enjoy Bhutan’s stunning natural landscapes, whether you’re reaching them by road or through scenic hikes. Plus, with a range of accommodations from hotels to campsites, comfort is guaranteed for every traveller.

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What sets Druk Neykor apart is its innovative passport system. As you visit each site, you collect stamps in your Druk Neykor passport, each one telling a story of Bhutan’s spiritual journey and cultural immersion. This tangible record of your travels is not only a personal memento but also a gateway to learning more about each site through QR codes that offer detailed histories and stories.

The programme is accessible through authorised Bhutanese Tour Operators, but adventurous souls can also explore these sites independently. From the iconic Tiger's Nest monastery perched on a cliff to the serene Dochula Pass, each stamp collected is a step deeper into Bhutan’s spiritual heart.

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Dorji Dhradhul, Director General of the Department of Tourism-Bhutan, captures the essence of the initiative: “Druk Neykor merges Bhutan’s spiritual legacy with its natural beauty, offering a profound journey of discovery. We welcome travellers from all corners of the globe to join in this spiritual adventure, helping to celebrate and preserve the unique culture and pilgrimage traditions of Bhutan.”

Whether you’re a soul searcher, a culture enthusiast, or simply in love with the idea of a journey filled with meaning, the Druk Neykor programme invites you to experience Bhutan in a way that’s both deeply personal and universally connecting.


Indian Airlines Prep for Summer Surge with 24,275 Weekly Flights

Indian Airlines Prep for Summer Surge with 24,275 Weekly Flights

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on March 25, 2024

As summer approaches, Indian airlines are gearing up for an increase in flight operations, with a total of 24,275 weekly domestic flights set to take off starting March 31. This marks a nearly 6 percent rise compared to the previous year, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

During the summer schedule, which runs from March 31 to October 26, airlines will operate from 125 airports across the country. Notably, this includes the introduction of new airports such as Azamgarh, Aligarh, and Chitrakoot.

Leading carriers like IndiGo, Air India, and Vistara are set to expand their operations, while SpiceJet plans a slight reduction in departures. Additionally, international connections will extend to 37 countries from 27 domestic airports, reflecting a 5.1 percent rise in weekly international flights.

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Despite ongoing challenges in the aviation sector, including supply chain disruptions and engine issues, airlines remain optimistic about meeting the growing demand for air travel. Akasa Air's forthcoming international operations are anticipated to further enhance connectivity, subject to regulatory approvals.

With the increase in flight frequencies and expansion of airport networks, travelers can expect improved accessibility and convenience during the upcoming summer season. As the aviation industry adapts to evolving market dynamics, the focus remains on ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers across the country.

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