JTB: LCCs key to Japan recovery

JTB: LCCs key to Japan recovery
By admin


The introduction of low cost carriers to domestic routes in Japan could see the troubled destination finally win back the Australian market, according to wholesaler JTB.
Australian arrivals were severely impacted by last March’s disaster, falling 65% from 2010. February figures showed numbers have now recovered to around 83% of pre-quake levels.
However, JTB president and chief executive Hiromi Tagawa said Australians were still staying away because reduced air services in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami meant they were unable to easily travel to destinations such as Niseko ski resort in Hokkaido.
He revealed he had been discussing ways of improving the situation with executives at Jetstar, ahead of the launch of Jetstar Japan in July. “We need new routes,” he said as he pledged to work closely with low cost carriers to create new services to Hokkaido that would appeal to Australians.
AirAsia Japan will add competition to the low cost sector with its launch in August.
But Tagawa stressed that connectivity was not the only issue. As a result, the wholesaler is reassessing its entire program to provide an “integrated product” to travellers.
Its focus will now be to lure visitors beyond Japan’s cities by “polishing the treasures” of each of Japan’s regions, putting the spotlight on nature, local communities and festivals.
Tagawa also highlighted the cruise sector as an area for potential growth, but admitted cruise ship regulations had to be eased for Japan to fully benefit.
Cruise giant Carnival recently announced it would launch Carnival Japan to sell its brands in the market, including Princess Cruises which will sail an 87-day Japan program in 2013.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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