China becomes increasing
draw for Japan travel

Fewer Japanese head to mainland
U.S., Hawaii and Europe

Associated Press

TOKYO >> Japanese spent their summer holidays this year closer to home, staying within the country or picking Asia, instead of the United States and Europe, according to data released yesterday by Japan's two largest airlines.

Japan Airlines Co., the nation's No. 1 carrier, said passengers on domestic flights between late July and early August rose by 2.3 percent, from last year's peak holiday period.

While fewer vacationers went overseas this year, the number of passengers headed for China increased by 26.7 percent, from the same period last year, the airline said. Those flying to Southeast Asia were up 1.9 percent.

Passengers flying to Hawaii and the continental United States, however, were down by more than 18 percent, while those going to Europe were 7.1 percent lower.

According to state statistics, international arrivals to Hawaii from Japan fell 20 percent through June 30, to 680,720.

All Nippon Airways Co., Japan's second-largest carrier, said the number of domestic passengers fell 1.9 percent while international passengers were down 5.4 percent.

An ANA spokesman said he didn't know why more Japanese stayed near home, but said last year's Sept. 11 attacks in the United States were a possible factor. The summer holiday season, which lasts about two weeks, is one of the busiest traveling periods of the year.

Flights to Asia carried 1.8 percent more passengers than those last year, ANA said. The number of people who flew to Asian countries was nearly twice those who traveled to Europe and the United States combined, ANA said.

Flights from Japan to the United States took 20 percent fewer people, while those bound for Europe had 5.7 percent fewer than the peak period last year, ANA said.

Also yesterday, Japan Airlines said it may cut one of four daily flights between Honolulu and Tokyo.

"Whenever demand increases, we will put on extra flights," said Gilbert Kimura, sales manager for Japan Airlines in Honolulu.

Kimura said the airline is considering cutting one daily flight starting in October, but added that the decision is not official yet.

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