Japan at Night  Inbound Tourism
Analysis Newsletter

Issue Four, March 2000

Providing independent news, information and analysis on issues of concern to Australia's inbound tourism industry. Your contributions and comments are most welcome.

Compiled and written by Roger March
   University of New South Wales and Executive Director, Inbound Tourism Studies Centre
CONTENTS 
Inbound figures for 1999 - Singapore visitors to Australia: A profile  - 
Environmental Disaster Tourism







INBOUND FIGURES FOR 1999:


-  Australia greeted 4.453 million visitors in 1999, up 6.9% on 1998, according to preliminary figures released last week. Japanese travel to Australia for the year will be around 705,880, down 6.2%. During the year, New Zealand displaced Japan as Australia's largest inbound up market. Of the main Asian markets, Singapore was No.1 (up 8.9%),  followed by Taiwan
(down 1.9%), Korea (up 65% to 109,000), and China (up 29%). The only markets to decline, apart from Japan, were Hong Kong (approx. -6%) and Taiwan. 

John Morse was understandably upbeat about the 1999 results: "1999 was a milestone year for Australia, becoming the first western destination where Chinese nationals could holiday. At the same time we received more than one million visitors from Europe including a record half a million from the United Kingdom. Our Asian markets, which had fallen 21 per cent in 1998 due to the economic crisis rebounded sharply in 1999 with overall growth of more than 10 per cent.

 "Total expenditure by international visitors in Australia grew an extraordinary 18.6 per cent in the financial year 1998/99. Australia's biggest export earner is just getting bigger… We have record arrivals from traditional markets in Europe (+12.5 per cent), the United Kingdom (+13.4 per cent), our single largest market New Zealand (+3 per cent), and North America (+10.3 per cent) coupled with excellent performances from emerging markets including the Middle East (+21.9 per cent) and China (+28.9 per cent)."

-   An ATC Promotion: Dreamtime 2000 is an incentive trade show coordinated by the Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) that will be held in Australia from 1 to 6 June. Operators will have the opportunity to promote their product to key international incentive buyers. The trade show component will run in conjunction with the Australian Tourist Exchange specialist
travel trade show at Darling Harbour, Sydney and the familiarisation tour component will be held on the Gold Coast. For further information about Dreamtime 2000 email Meg McCulloch at mmccullo@atc.gov.au or telephone 02 9361 1327.

-  Ever looked at the web sites of our state tourism organisations? Check out Tourism Queensland at http://www.qttc.com.au/home.htm. It's informative, easy to use and a real boon for its travel industry members. Tourism Queensland News, Issue 1 (February 2000) is particularly interesting. No-one matches TQ for quality and content, although Tourism
Victoria and the WATC also have useful sites. A state's web site reveals much about a state's attitude to tourism and about the professionalism of its promotion body.

JAPAN

-   Australia's share of the Japanese market by the end of 1999 stood at
4.31%, the lowest since the pilots' strike of 1989. In February 1997, after
the second Japan Summit organised by the ATC to address the decline in the
Japanese market, Bill Calderwood stated that "a raft of initiatives would
be implemented aimed at lifting Australia's market share from its current
level of 5 per cent to 5.6 per cent by 2001 and visitor arrivals from
800,000 annually to 1.3 million" (ATC Media Release 13/2/97). All figures
have headed south since. 

-   JTB reports bookings for package travel to Australia in March are down
8% from March 1999. Other wholesalers are generally expecting small, but
positive, growth to Australia. Jalpak's I'll  bookings are up 2%, NTA's
Mach is up 1%, NEC's Look World is up 21%, while beleaguered KNT's Holiday
is down 6%. JTB's reports healthy bookings for Asia (+26%), China (+20%)
and Guam/Saipan (22%). Hawaii is up 4%. The big losers are Europe (-21%)
and North America (-23%).

-   JTB announced its lineup for the kamiki period (April-September) 2000.
Its main target segments are jukunen, OLs, and families. For fiscal 1999
(April 1999 - March 2000), JTB reported an increase of 1% on Look JTB
customers over previous year to 1,266,000. Prices are an average 2.6% lower
than the same period last year. For specific destinations, prices to Taiwan
are down 8.7% in the wake of the devastating earthquake last year and  the
dramatic downturn in Japanese travel to the island nation. Hawaii and
Europe tour prices have been lowered 5%. Guam/Saipan is down 5.7% and the
U.S. Mainland down 2.6%.  The eye-catcher price for Hawaii and the mainland
is around 60-70,000 yen while the cheapest Look tour to China is 48,880
yen. Forecasts for Look JTB pax to main destinations in 2000 are as
follows: Hawaii-294,600 (+11%), Guam/Saipan-248,000 (-2%), U.S.
Mainland-192,500 (+4%), Europe-131,700 (+9%), Asia-239,600 (-2%),
Taiwan-32,100 (+39%), Oceania-124,900 (+1%), and China-47,400 (+18%).

-   Japanese inbound figures for the Gold Coast for 1999 dropped 10.6% from
the year before, according to the report released by the Gold Coast Tourism
Bureau. The report is based on figures supplied by major inbound tour
operators on the Gold Coast. The results confirm a worrying trend: the Gold
Coast is losing Japanese business at an accelerating rate. In the past four
years, year-to-year growth rates have dipped from +4% between 1995 and
1996, to -2.9% (1996/97), -5.6% (1997/98) and -10.6% (1998/99).

-   JAM (Japan Australia Mission) 2000 was held at the end of February and
attended by over 40 organisations. Accor Asia Pacific dispatched a phalanx
of 14 representatives, including nine hotel general managers. Outrigger
Hotels were next with a party of three. Apart from Accor and Outrigger, the
only other hotels/chains to attend were Flag Choice (2 reps), Esplanade
Hotel Fremantle (1), Palazzo Versace (1), and Rendervous  Hotels
International (1).  By individuals attending, Queensland was best
represented with 22, followed by NSW (15), Victoria (7) and Northern
Territory (6). 
 

-   JTB Upbeat on Seniors and Family Segments:  Baby boomers will skew the
Japanese outbound market in the first few years of the new millennium.
Outbound traffic will exceed 20 million in the early stage of the next
century, but agents seeking to tap this market segment must note
demographic changes in this 16 million-strong travel market, says Japan
Travel Bureau (JTB) chairman Isao Matsuhashi.

At the recent Singapore International Advisory Council on Tourism (IACT)
forum, Matsuhashi said attention needed to be paid to the seniors market
and the family travel market. By 2015, one in four Japanese will be over
65. The second batch of baby-boomers, born in the 1970s and accounting for
six million of the country's population, will be the future family travel
market. Outbound Japanese will be more family-oriented, more study-oriented
and more independent, said Matsuhashi. Japanese students, currently
150,000-strong and growing, have a keener interest in nature and culture,
seek new destinations and stay in small, tidy hotels.

The seniors market will seek freedom of travel, make their own itineraries
and join skeleton-type tours. "With a more mature market, they will be more
discerning and specific, preferring in depth experiences when they travel.
They will also be more direct, demanding a wide variety of choices in
travel products," said Matsuhashi.

-   A mall, niche market emerging out of Japan is the long-stay market for
elderly Japanese. Such foreign trips are handled by the Japan Long-Stay
Foundation (Ichiro Murosaki, General Manager). Thailand is hoping to cash
in on the market and for that reason the Thai government granted approval
in November last year for Japanese to stay in the country for up to one
year on a single visa. 

-   The Hawaiian Tourism Association has a budget of US$10 million for the
Japanese market in 2000.

CHINA

- Don't expect China outbound to sky-rocket over the next few years,
caution the Chinese authorities interviewed in an Asian travel magazine.
Although demand for overseas travel has shown a marked increase among
mainland Chinese - due to rising disposable incomes and economic growth -
there still remain a number of red-tape issues to resolve before the
outbound market booms. "It will be a steady growth rather than an
avalanche," says China National Tourism Administration deputy director
general Li Xue Dong. "There has been growth in people having holidays
abroad, and this will continue with the progress in Approved Destination
Status (ADS) negotiations, as well as other legislation over exit visas and
passports".

New Zealand and Australia, which were granted ADS this year, are expecting
dramatic growth in arrivals from mainland China, says the article. The
Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) believes that China will become its
primary inbound market in five to six years. New Zealand is expecting in
the region of 30 to 50 per cent growth in visitors from China in the
2000-2001 fiscal year. "There is certainly a realisation among the
government that the Chinese people will be doing more travelling a broad in
the future," says ATC regional manager for Northeast Asia Johnny Nee. "The
trend will be for giving the five-year passport, rather than the
single-trip passport, as demand increases."

Hong Kong is the mainland's primary destination in Asia, with 1.7 million
visitors in January-July 1999  - far ahead of Thailand's 478,880 and
Singapore's 142,000. The Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) recently took
part in a trade mission to Shanghai with 50 representatives from 35 hotels,
travel agencies and other tourist industries in the SAR. HKTA China manager
Ettie Tan says: "The Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejing region is the second
largest source market after Guangdong and accounts for more than 15 per
cent of total arrivals from the mainland. Promotion in China is money well
spent."

The HKTA is also aiming to capitalise on meetings incentives conferences
and exhibitions business from China following the mainland's recent
accession to the WTO. "We would like to further enhance Hong Kong's status
as a gateway into China," says Tan. "With WTO status, a lot of Western
companies will want to do business with China. There will certainly a need
for more conferences and exhibitions. There will also be promotions, and
incentives business coming out of China. Hong Kong is a perfect location
for this."

-  Beijing will allow all Chinese citizens unrestricted travel to Korea
from June 2000: Since May 1998, when China granted Korea Approved
Destination Status, trips to Korea have been limited to Chinese citizens
living in one of nine mainland cities or provinces. These are: Beijing,
Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shandong Province, Jiangxu Province,
Guangdong Province, Anhui Province and Shangxi Province.

But the Chinese government agreed to lift the restrictions at the fourth
meeting of the Korean-Chinese Council on Tourism Promotion in Seoul
recently. "The lifting of the ban is going to help double the number of
Chinese travellers to Korea to 70,000 in 2000 under the new joint package
programmes that Korea's and China's travel agencies will develop,'' said
the Culture and Tourism Ministry's International Tourism Division chief Cho
Hyun-jae.

China was initially reluctant to ease restrictions, due to fears of illegal
immigration. "But, only 0.04 per cent of Chinese visitors to Korea
[absconded],'' said Cho. Between January and October 1999, 260,000 mainland
Chinese tourists visited Korea, making it the third largest tourist market
after Japan and America. Both governments have also agreed to increase the
number of travel agencies that handle only Chinese tourists to more than 50
from the current 35.

The Seoul office of the China National Tourism Administration, which was
closed in December 1997, will also resume operations. A second
representative office of the Korea National Tourism Organisation (KNTO) is
planned in Shangahi.

-  Tourism Queensland has appointed Ms Diana Chen as Marketing Coordinator
to be based in Shanghai, China. Ms Chen will help maintain close
relationships with industry partners and coordinate sales missions in
China. Her office is co-located within the Queensland Trade and Investment
Office. 


SINGAPORE VISITORS TO AUSTRALIA: A PROFILE


-   Singapore residents visiting Australia for less than a year (short-term arrivals) in 1998-99 ranked fifth after Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America in terms of the number of visitors coming from a country. Over the last ten years their numbers have increased from 62,400 or 3% of all short-term visitors to Australia in 1988-89 to 244,500 or 6% of all short-term visitors in 1998-99. This is a 292% increase as compared to the increase in visitors from Japan (100%), the United Kingdom (79%), New Zealand (43%), and the United States of America (26%) over the same period. Among countries in the Asian regions, Singapore ranked as the second major source country after Japan, contributing 13% of all short-term visitor arrivals from countries in the Asian regions in
1998-99.

During the last ten years, the number of short-term visitor arrivals from Singapore increased yearly with the exception of 1998-99 when a decline was recorded. However, during the first five months to November 1999 visitor arrivals from Singapore have been higher than in the corresponding months of 1998. Short-term visitor arrivals from all countries in the Asian
regions increased from 1988-89 to 1995-96 and fell in the last three years (1996-1997 to 1998-99). However, the visitor arrivals from Singapore fell in 1998-99 while visitor arrivals from Japan and Taiwan declined as early as 1996-97 and visitor arrivals from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines dropped in 1997-98.

Over the last ten years, the number of short-term visitor arrivals from Singapore has been male dominated with the exception of the years 1991-92 to 1995-96 when more female than male visitors arrived. In 1998-99 there were 9,500 more male than female visitor arrivals. Short-term visitor arrivals consisted mainly of people aged 25-44 years, 48% in 1998-99.
Female visitors tended to be younger than male visitors. In the last ten years, the median age of female visitors from Singapore averaged 32 years while that of male visitors averaged 35 years.

The majority of visitor arrivals from Singapore came mainly for a holiday (63% in 1998-99), business and for visiting friends and relatives (11% each in 1998-99). Among the holiday-makers in 1998-99, the proportion of female visitors (52%) was higher than that of male visitors (48%). 

The bulk of short-term visitors from Singapore intended to stay in Australia for less than two weeks (77% in 1998-99). Over the last ten years, the median duration of intended stay fluctuated between 8 and 9 days. For visitors who came for a holiday, median duration of intended stay remained at 8 days over the 10 year-period. Visitors of friends and
relatives intended to stay slightly longer (21 days in 1988-89 to 11 days in 1998-99) and
business visitors intended to stay for a shorter period (8 days in 1988-89 to 6 days in 1998-99). Students had the longest (92 days in 1998-99) and most variable median duration of intended stay (ranging from 13 days in 1988-89 to 122 days in 1997-98). 

Western Australia, Queensland, and New South Wales have been the most popular States for short-term visitors from Singapore. However, Queensland and Western Australia decreased in popularity as indicated by their decreasing share of total arrivals (Western Australia from 1989-90 and Queensland in the last five years). The drop in Western Australia's share was influenced greatly by the drop in the proportion having a holiday in
that State. Victoria in particular has attracted an increasing proportion of visitor arrivals in recent years; most of this growth consisted of holiday-makers. Western Australia, which has about one-third of the Singapore-born population in Australia, attracted the highest number of people visiting friends and relatives.

-   Meanwhile,  during 2000 Switzerland could become the first European country to be granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by China. A delegation of Swiss government ministers visited Beijing late last year to make an official request for ADS to the Chinese government. The visit coincided with the grand opening of a Switzerland Tourism office in
Beijing. Switzerland is the first European country to open a tourism representative office in the mainland. Talks had been stalled because China wanted to grant ADS to approximately seven European countries at the same time.

"The problem is, because of the European Community, it is difficult to know who to negotiate with. We have requested they grant ADS to Switzerland as a test case before granting the status to any other European countries," said a Swiss official. "There's a good chance it will be granted next year [2000]," he said. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic
relations between Switzerland and China. ADS would allow Switzerland to promote its tourism products in China. Switzerland plans to open a second tourism office in Shanghai after ADS was granted.

Mainland Chinese visitors spent 20,000 room nights in Switzerland in 1998. Figures up to the end of September this year show an increase up to 50,000 room nights. The Swiss government is not concerned about illegal immigration. An official said: "There is no network for them in Switzerland, we have no Chinatown, there are language difficulties, they
would not survive in Switzerland." Hello?


LAST AND LEAST - ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER TOURISM


The Indian government is reconsidering its plans to build an amusement park on the site of the Bhopal chemical disaster after negative reaction from the public. Bhopal, the site of the world's worst industrial accident which left 12,000 people dead after a chemical leak from a Union Carbide plant, is an unlikely place to build a tourist attraction. Although the
ministry of tourism for India says the plans are at the conceptual stage, invitation for bids to construct the park have been placed in The Times of India. ('Calgary Herald', 7 February 2000)
 

*****
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