Spotlight on Japan – Edition 4
22 April 2022
In your last update, you shared insights into your plans to support recovery from the Japan market. Please update us on how this is tracking.
Following a sustained ‘always on’ marketing approach during the COVID-19 pandemic, in early April we launched the Yours to Explore campaign, our largest in Japan for the past decade. The integrated campaign, covering all states and territories, across newspaper, out-of-home, social media, digital and events, has two phases through April and May and is designed to educate Japanese consumers that Australia is open and that a warm welcome awaits them Down Under.
Australia is one of the first major international destinations to launch a campaign in Japan this season, timed to achieve maximum consideration and intention for Australia. Campaign timing is also aligned with research findings that many Japanese travellers choose their international travel destinations three to six months in advance.
How did Japanese trade and media respond to the announcement of Australia’s borders re-opening in February?
There has been great excitement around the announcement of Australia’s border reopening, and the recent removal of the pre-arrival COVID-19 testing makes travel even easier. Our key distribution partners are now rebuilding their international tour products and are planning large-scale promotions in the coming months.
As there are still daily passenger arrival caps in place into Japan, air capacity remains limited (current cap of 10,000 people per day, is less than 10 per cent of actual daily arrivals in 2019). Inbound tourists are still not permitted to enter Japan which is an additional hurdle for airlines operating on international routes like Japan – Australia. We expect these restrictions to ease in the second half of the calendar year.
How is consumer sentiment towards travel? Are there any booking trends emerging, relevant to Australia?
Japan continues to have outbound travel warnings in place and consumer sentiment towards immediate overseas travel is still relatively weak. Nonetheless there is significant pent-up demand with consumer enquires to our key distribution partners and airlines already increasing. A major annual survey released by CCC Marketing in January found that potential travellers are increasingly craving relaxation and escape from stress in their next overseas holiday and Australia is among the top four international destinations to provide just that.
It is expected that demand for overseas travel will strengthen gradually over coming months and by the commencement of the Northern winter season in late October, be well on the way to recovery.
Meanwhile, we are seeing a growing trend in forward bookings to Australia, week-by-week, albeit tempered by limited air capacity and Japan-side passenger caps right now.
What in-market events are you planning this year?
In March, Tourism Australia partnered with the Tabi Salad Expo consumer travel show in Osaka, which attracted over 20,000 people during the three-day event. Organisers also sold 1,000 hot Aussie meat pies to travel-hungry visitors. Tabi Salad is a network television travel show, viewed by more than nine million people every week.
In Tokyo on 11 April, we met with trade and consumer media to highlight our campaign activity and provide the latest information and updates for Australia. We then undertook a roadshow, stopping in five cities throughout Japan, engaging with around 360 representatives of key distribution partners who sell Australia. It was a great opportunity to meet our important stakeholders at face-to-face events all over the country for the first time in over two years.
This month we also kicked off a consumer partnership with TABI LABO lifestyle digital media. Readers are asked to tell us about their ‘dream trip’ to Australia, giving them the chance to win the trip and share it with other TABI LABO readers as they travel around Australia.
In May we will welcome Japanese trade and media to the Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) Live in Sydney, and at ATE Online. In September we will exhibit at the JATA Travel Expo in Tokyo, followed by Australia Marketplace to welcome Australian suppliers to market in-person.
There’s a lot more to come and we’ll let you know the details in the next edition of Spotlight on Japan!