Holiday tourism not likely to shine
Golden Week is not expected to draw as many Japanese visitors this year, a survey finds
This year's Golden Week holiday season in Japan is not likely to add any glitter to Japanese tourism in Hawaii, according to a new survey of travel trends by JTB Corp.
Golden Week has long been a popular travel period for Japanese, because it allows would-be travelers to capitalize on precious vacation time clustered around four national holidays between April 29 through May 6.
But the sequence of those holidays and weekends this year means those heading for Hawaii will not have enough time unless they take additional vacation, according the JTB survey, being released today.
Japanese visitor traffic to Hawaii, already well below peak levels, is not likely to improve during the traditional vacation period, said State Tourism Liaison Marsha Wienert.
"Everybody's saying that the drop is due to the holiday schedule," Wienert said. "They just don't have enough time to make those long-haul trips."
This year's Golden Week has the same unfortunate sequence of holidays as 1997 and 2003, when overseas travel dropped 14.8 and 52.2 percent respectively, the JTB survey said. Indeed, JTB forecast that Golden Week travel this year would flatten or drop for every destination except Korea and Hong Kong.
While JTB said that Hawaii's Golden Week traffic will likely decline another 11 percent this year, the islands posted the lowest decline of any other long-haul destination.
"Hawaii is still the No. 1 preferred overseas destination, and that might be a reason why Hawaii isn't as down as other long-haul destinations," Wienert said.
During the first half of this year's Golden Week, JTB expects that departures for longer overseas trips will fall 14.6 percent to 458,000. Most overseas traffic will take place from May 3 to May 5 when there is a four-day holiday sequence and packages prices return to normal, JTB said.
Also, despite the yen's increase strength against the dollar in recent months, some Japanese may still be choosing to avoid Golden Week travel because of rising fuel surcharges and the holiday's long-held reputation for higher prices.
JTB surveyed 1,200 people from 200 locations in Japan planning to travel between April 25 and May 5.