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(December 2, 2002)

Overseas Travel Demand Once Again Showing Signs of Recovery

2nd JATA Survey on Travel Market Trends

According to the recently released "2nd JATA Survey on Travel Market Trends," it has become clear that overall demand for overseas travel is once again showing signs of recovery. The transitory effects of the brief slowdown in the Japanese travel market during the FIFA World Cup having dissipated, along with the lessening impact of last year's terrorist attacks in the U.S., some travel agents are reporting that travel demand is recovering for almost all destinations, with the exception of the U.S. mainland.
As reported in an article on August 26, the first survey documented the market trends from April to June this year. The second survey was carried out focusing on the period from July to September. The results of the "Survey on Product Trends," which JATA used to conduct every three months until this spring, were used as the comparison data.

Change in Combined Demand for All Destinations
2000
2001
2002
Oct.-Dec.
Jan.-Mar.
Apr.-June
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.
Jan.-Mar.
Apr.-June
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.
+5
-1
-22
-43
-90
-58
-50
-37
-29

The diffusion index (DI) for overall demand from July to September was -37, exceeding the -50 in the previous survey by 13 points. In addition, the following comments by the respondents emphasized the upward trend of the market:

-
Though travel demand for the U.S. mainland is still suffering the effects of last year's terrorist attacks, other destinations, including Hawaii, have been recovering.
- Thanks to the 30th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations, the number of travelers to China has been increasing.
- There has been a sharp increase in the number of travelers visiting Canada instead of the U.S.

Some respondents implied a new trend in consumer thinking about travel:

-
Rather than normal sightseeing tours, an increasing number of people are preferring trips for a specific purpose, such as studying the manners and customs of the destination country.
- Some consumers are becoming more and more quality-minded, while others are becoming more and more sensitive to price.
- Being competitive in specialized fields will be a great advantage for travel agents.

As for the prospects for the period from October to December, the DI for overall demand was -29, an improvement of 8 points over the period from July to September. On the other hand, many of the respondents did not appear to be so optimistic, citing anxiety over the possibility that the U.S. may take military action against Iraq in the near future.

"Honeymoon" travel shows remarkable improvement
Looking at the figures in terms of customers, each traveler category exceeded its results for the previous survey. Of all the customer groups, at 10 points, "honeymoon" travel showed the most remarkable improvement. The DIs of "middle-aged" and "senior" travelers, which had both been comparatively high in the previous survey, continued to go up.
Turning to the prospects for the market from October to December, the DIs of "business," "family" and "young women" fell short of the figures for the period from July to September.

2001
2002
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.
Jan.-Mar.
Apr.-June
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.

Honeymoon

-37
-91
-67
-46
-36
-31

Family

-2
-96
-67
-44
-38
-42

Young women

-35
-98
-52
-47
-41
-45

Middle-aged (45-59)

+8
-96
-38
-25
-20
-18

Seniors (60 and over)

+8
-98
-34
-14
-8
-5

Incentives

-48
-100
-83
-66
-65
-63

Business

-56
-95
-78
-35
-34
-36

Market for travel to China remains strong, but slight drop expected
Broken down by destination, every single figure showed improvement. In particular, the figure for Hawaii jumped from -63 to -46, up 17 points. The DI for China, the only destination maintaining its positive digit DI, went up 11 points. While the figure forecasted for China from October to December dropped by 4 points, other destinations are expected to keep recovering steadily.

2001
2002
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.
Jan.-Mar.
Apr.-June
July-Sept.
Oct.-Dec.

Hawaii

-41
-98
-56
-63
-46
-40

USA (other)/ Canada

-67
-100
-88
-70
-66
-63

Europe

+2
-98
-48
-23
-20
-18

Oceania

-8
-67
-7
-34
-26
-18

Micronesia

-13
-91
-35
-51
-50
-47

China

+17
-40
+23
+23
+34
+30

Asia (other)

+8
-61
-2
-13
-2
+1


Survey Outline
The survey was carried out from September 26 to October 8 this year. Questionnaires were sent via the internet to 1,131 JATA member companies, 207 of which replied.
The survey asked the companies to grade their sales results for each destination and customer category by choosing from three grades - "good," "average" and "poor" - while indicating "do not handle" for items outside their business scope. In determining the index for each category, the percentages of "good" and "poor" responses as compared to the total number of valid responses (which also included "average") were decided. The figure representing the percentage for "poor" was then subtracted from that representing "good" to provide the index figure.
The highest possible index figure is +100 and the lowest, -100.

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