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Positive signs from vital Japanese tourism market.



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14 April 2000

POSITIVE SIGNS FROM VITAL JAPANESE TOURISM MARKET

The Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) has reported a 17 per cent increase in bookings to Australia for this year’s Golden Week holiday period, Australian Tourist Commission Managing Director John Morse said today.

"This is a promising sign for Australia and reinforces our belief that the Japanese market is recovering slowly," he said. "But it will probably take at least another twelve months or so before we are back to the same level of arrivals as we enjoyed prior to the Asian crisis."

Mr Morse said the ATC was confident Australia’s popularity with the Japanese remained strong.

"Australia is still a dream holiday destination for many millions of Japanese," he said. "This is borne out by another recent JTB report showing Australia’s share of the lucrative ‘Japanese Honeymoon’ market grew 1.5 per cent in 1999.and the actual numbers of weddings held in Australia grew 5 per cent on 1998.

"The JTB report also shows Australia is ranked the second or third most popular honeymoon destination all three of the top market regions (Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka). We are also the only country to boast five destinations in the Top 20 most popular honeymoon destinations for the Japanese. Two of these are in the Top 5."

Sydney is ranked #3, Gold Coast #4, Cairns #12, Hamilton Island #17 and Uluru #20.

Mr Morse said the Australian tourism industry was re-assessing its approach to the Japanese market.

"The ATC has been revamping its activities in the Japanese market in response to the radical changes which have swept the Japanese travel trade over the past two years," he said. "And those in the industry with a real commitment to the market are doing the same. The Japanese economy is different, the airline and travel industries are different and, most importantly, consumer behaviour has changed. Those who do not adapt to the new Japanese market will fail."

Approximately 710,000 Japanese visitors came to Australia in 1999, representing 18 per cent of all visitors to Australia. Japan is second only to New Zealand as a source market for international tourists to Australia. Tourism is Australia’s second largest export to Japan with visitors spending $2.6 billion annually on their Australian holiday.

Japanese visitor numbers peaked in 1997 at 814,000 arrivals but have since declined due to economic conditions in Japan and the changing travel patterns of the Japanese.

Contact: Rachel Crowley ATC Corporate Affairs