The Japanese return to travel: strong demand for travel but little for Europe

After more than two years of standstill, we can finally say that Japan’s outgoing travel market is back on track: the sharp recovery in recent months has finally marked a change of course and it is now clear that tourist demand has restarted. The recovery has actually been hampered by various factors, first and foremost the weakness of the yen, which has had a significant impact on travel prices, and then the rise in fuel prices, but the desire to return to travel has prevailed. Travellers are adapting their needs and for now demand is mainly focusing on cheaper destinations, but it seems that nothing can hinder the great strength of demand growth.

Strong travel demand despite weak Yen

As we know, Asian countries were the last to reopen their borders, and some of them still have not done so: China, for example, still confirms its Zero-Covid policy, while Japan definitively reopened its borders to international tourists only last month. Similarly, restrictive outbound policies have been equally strict.
During 2021, many countries reopened their borders and accepted tourists from Japan with a low level of restrictions. Demand, however, remained very low because travellers would then have to undergo very strict restrictions when returning home. This trend is also confirmed by the data on travel intentions (graph on the cover), which shows the number of searches for flights made from Japan: it can be clearly seen that until the end of 2021 there were very few people looking for flights, but then the market exploded. In the first three months of the year, the Japanese made around 25 million searches; that is 248% more than in the same period in 2021 (7.1 million) and demand has continued to grow until today. During the last few days (1-7 November) the Japanese made, on average, 740 thousand flight searches per day.

The most sought-after destinations

Where do all these Japanese want to go? Certainly the first channel is domestic, as 45% of flights are to airports within national borders. This primacy is a normal condition, but it is certainly influenced by economic factors: due to the very weak yen Japanese tourists have to carefully consider their travel budget. This leads to a preference for domestic travel, in order to avoid suffering an unfavourable currency exchange rate and seeing their spending capacity lowered.

Japanese travel demand infographic

After Japan, the interest of the Japanese stops at neighbouring countries, especially Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, Taiwan and Indonesia.
It should also be noted that there is a very strong interest for the United States of America, which alone accounts for 5% of all foreign searches; it is second only to Korea (9%).

After neighbouring countries and the USA, the third most desired place for the Japanese is Europe, but so far the searches have a very low share. The Japanese who want to go to the UK, for example, are 2% of the total, while for France and Italy they are 1%. Certainly, the data testify to a great upturn in Japanese demand, but for now we should still wait before seeing them invade the streets of European cities of art.

Lybra Destination powered by Zucchetti Travel Data Lake


The Travel Data Lake of Zucchetti Group collects and manages millions of overnight searches every day, thanks to which it is possible to have a statistically relevant overview on tourists’ future demand and extrapolate valuable information about travelers’ profile. The system collects anonymously stay searches carried out by travellers through the CRS of the Zucchetti group, providing an accurate forecast of hotel demand (period, destination, duration of stay, etc.). Zucchetti is the largest Italian software house: with over 40 years of experience, in 2021 it has more than 700,000 customers, revenues of over 1.3 billion euros and a group of over 8,000 people. Thanks to its Hospitality division, which provides digital tools to over 50% of accommodation facilities in Italy, in 2020 Zucchetti developed the Travel Data Lake, the largest forecasting hub in Italy, with the aim of centralizing forecast data from the group’s Booking Engine. The data is processed by Destination, the market intelligence platform of Lybra Tech, a Zucchetti Group company specialising in technologies for tourism and data analysis. Lybra Destination is a multi-source dashboard that helps Decision Makers exploit the power of future data: it is the only tool that can manage all data available in the territory by simultaneously analyzing multiple sources. Leveraging the power of AI and machine learning, Lybra Destination helps tourist destinations guide decision making and monitor the impact of their promotional activities.

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