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Group tour costs to Japan in summer forecast to fall 10% year-on-year

05/18/2024 02:32 PM
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A Japan Transocean Air plane takes off from Taoyuan Airport in this CNA file photo
A Japan Transocean Air plane takes off from Taoyuan Airport in this CNA file photo

Taipei, May 18 (CNA) Despite summer being peak travel season, the costs of local group tours to Japan are expected to fall about 10 percent from a year earlier largely due to cheaper air tickets, according to the Travel Quality Assurance Association (TQAA).

The TQAA said that with the supply of passenger flight capacity on the rise in the July to September quarter, the costs of tours to Japan, the favorite destination of Taiwanese tourists, are expected to offset the peak season impact and fall from a year earlier by 10 percent or NT$3,000 (NT$93.17) to NT$5,000 per person.

The TQAA said a five-day group tour to Hokkaido is estimated to cost NT$42,800 to NT$55,900 in September, when the maple viewing season will start, while a five-day group tour to the northeast region, which consists of the northeastern portion of Honshu, is expected to cost NT$39,900 to NT$49,900 in the third quarter.

Liao Pei-yuan (廖培沅), a TQAA specialist for Japanese tour destinations, said summer will be a good time for Taiwanese travelers to go to Japan, not only because of cheaper air fares but also the depreciation of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar, which is expected to attract more Taiwanese nationals to visit.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, group tour costs to Japan are expected to stay little changed in the third quarter, Liao said.

According to the Tourism Administration, the number of Taiwanese tourists visiting Japan in 2023 totaled 4.23 million in the post COVID-19 era, sharply up from 354,219 in 2022.

While the lower costs to Japan will serve as a magnet to Taiwanese tourists, Liao said as Japan has imposed strict rules governing working hours for tour bus drivers, so tour itineraries could be affected.

On the other hand, the TQAA said group tour costs to South Korea, another favorite destination for Taiwanese travelers, are expected to rise 10 percent on a year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter basis due to higher air ticket prices and lodging expenses.

Lin Yueh-yu (林岳雨), who specializes in Korean destinations, said travel agencies tend to arrange high quality and unique itineraries which exclude shopping so the costs are growing accordingly.

For example, a four to five-day group tour to Jeju Island is expected to cost NT$11,900 to NT$29,900 in the summer, Lin said.

Elsewhere, the costs of group tours to Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia are expected to grow about 3 percent in the third quarter from a quarter earlier due to peak season effects, the TQAA said.

As for Thailand, which has extended a visa waiver for Taiwan nationals for an additional six months to Nov. 11, the costs are expected to fall about 1 percent from a year earlier due to lower air fares, the TQAA added.

The TQAA said group tour expenses for destinations in the Indo-China Peninsula are estimated to grow more than 5 percent from a quarter earlier in the July-September period with select tours which are not placed in promotion programs expected to see costs rising 10 percent.

As for longer haul journeys, the TQAA said group tour costs to the United States, Canada and Europe are expected to grow 5-10 percent from a quarter earlier in the third quarter, while tour costs to Australia and New Zealand are expected to stay little changed.

Chen Jung-hisn (陳榮信), a TQAA spokesman for European destinations, said the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship (UEFA EURO 2024) in Germany and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris are the reasons behind the higher costs of Europe travel.

Air tickets, lodging and tour buses for trips to Europe are expected to go up in price in the upcoming summer, Chen said.

(By Yu Hsiao-han and Frances Huang)

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