May 7, 2024

JTB to Increase Local Tours by 20% in FY2024

JTB and Nippon Travel Agency are strategically focusing on attracting more visitors to Japan's local regions. This shift, a response to the current market conditions, where the weak yen has led to a decrease in Japanese overseas travel, which is yet to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, underscores their adaptability and commitment to the industry's evolution. For the past 60 years, travel agencies have relied on international travel as a primary source of growth. However, with the liberalization of global travel, they plan to focus on inbound tourism to generate revenue.

JTB is embarking on a comprehensive strategic review of the product content of its flagship tour, the 'Sunrise Tour.' In the fiscal year of 2024, JTB plans to strategically reduce the number of products originating in the Tokyo metropolitan area by 10% from the previous year while simultaneously increasing the number of tours in other regions by 20%. This calculated move is about diversifying the product portfolio and capturing the hearts of repeat customers who have visited Japan multiple times. The Setouchi region, which has gained increased interest during the Group of Seven summit (G7 Hiroshima summit) held in 2023, will more than triple the number of products to 17.

One of the most innovative offerings from JTB is a unique collaboration with Asahi Breweries. This groundbreaking collaboration has led to the introduction of a series of nighttime sightseeing tours that offer a unique glimpse into the rich tapestry of Japanese culture and the ever-changing beauty of the seasons. The first tour was a one-hour ride on a jinrikisha (rickshaw) to view Asakusa's cherry blossoms at night, a truly enchanting experience. For the summer, JTB is considering organizing tours that include visiting the Asahi Breweries factory and distillery and a beer garden, a perfect blend of cultural immersion and leisure. This unique collaboration is a testament to JTB's innovative approach and unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences.

As per the report "Travel Agent Handling Situation of Major Travel Agencies" released by the Japan Tourism Agency, the amount of overseas travel by the Japanese people handled by JTB's six group companies in December 2023 was less than 50% of the amount handled in the same month of 2019. On the other hand, the volume of foreign tourists traveling to Japan increased by 30%. Inbound tourism is where travel agencies can expect growth for the time being.

Nippon Travel Agency, a subsidiary of JR West Japan, provides the "Japan Rail Pass" to visitors to Japan. This pass allows unlimited use of JR company's railways and local buses. The company has been actively promoting various regions of Japan by inviting representatives from overseas travel agencies to visit several hundred times over the past year.