Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Japan travel to
Korea tops Hawaii

JTB survey of summer
travel says isles will slip
while Asia gains

By Russ Lynch

Korea is beating Hawaii hands down this summer as a destination for Japanese tourists, according to a new survey by Japan's largest travel agency, JTB Corp. The survey, covering travel intentions for the period from July 15 through the end of August, shows that Hawaii won't slip much, however.

JTB Hawaii should get 272,000 visitors from Japan in the seven-week period, down 1.1 percent from 275,000 in that part of last year, JTB said. At the same time, Japan expects to deliver 342,000 tourists to Korea, up 5.9 percent from 323,000 last summer.

The U.S. mainland should get 338,000, down 0.6 percent from last summer's 340,000, also beating Hawaii but still under the level of travel to Korea.

China is the fastest-growing destination for the Japanese, with an expected 8.3 percent increase to an expected 221,000 this summer, compared to 204,000 last summer.

Travelers to China are mainly middle-aged, but improved tour packages are now appealing to "three-generation" trips -- grandparents, parents and grandchildren traveling in a group -- as well as to families and young women, JTB said. The agency said Korea is attractive because of "the fun of experiencing a normal day spent walking the town or shopping."

JTB says 2.68 million Japanese will travel overseas in the period it identifies as summer, a 1.7 percent increase from 2.64 million last summer. The travelers say they will spend more because of the diminished value of the yen. Total spending by overseas travelers is expected to rise 4.5 percent.

JTB did not have figures for spending in Hawaii.

The agency said it based its predictions on 2,200 questionnaires completed by travelers at some 200 locations throughout Japan, booking levels at its own offices and information it gleaned from airlines and tourist industry sources.

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