The outbound travel in Japan is on course to surpass the 17,818,590 all-time record set in 2000. A report by the Ministry of Justice said that a total of 8,964,605 Japanese headed abroad between the months of January and June 2012. This is the highest number ever since the 9,896,492 recorded in 2000 for the same period. With an increase of 17.51% from 2011 when the travel industry was hit by the destructive earthquakes and tsunami, traffic has witnessed double digit increases every month in 2012 compared to 2010's baseline. It is actually ahead by an average of 13.40%.
However, this record could be undermined by protests in China against the Japan territory in recent times. China is a popular destination for travelers from Japan with about 3,657,500 Japanese heading to this Asian country in 2011. All Japan Airlines and Nippon and Airways are banking on the Chinese market for growth.
The number of Japanese travelers in China reached 1,878,200 in the first months of 2012 which was an increase of 12.37% from the previous year and the second highest after the year 2010. Major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, with 19.70% and 12.44% increases respectively, are showing huge growth.
South Korea is set to welcome a new record of Japanese travelers with 1,817,042 Japanese setting feet on the territory in the first 6 months of 2012, a 30.42% increase from the record set in 2011. This neighboring country has become a favorite for young travelers from Japan due to a strong exchange rate, the continuing "Korean boom" and an increase in air access serving the local markets beyond Osaka and Tokyo.
With an increase of 21.79% from 2011, Taiwan is also witnessing a record number of Japanese travelers in 2012. As is the case with South Korea, this growth has been spurred by various factors such as increased access to regional markets in Japan. Hong Kong is also boasting an 8.35% increase in the number of Japanese travelers to 648,934, a record last seen in 2002. Cambodia (12.10% increase to 81,170), Vietnam (22.78% increase to 288,968) and other growing short-haul destinations are on track for new records of Japanese arrivals.
Long-haul destinations are also witnessing a boom in the number of Japanese travelers. Germany reported a 19.26% increase in the number of bed nights that Japanese generated, to 475,435 between January and May last year, the second highest count since 2001. France and Spain have also seen record breaking number of bed nights since 2008 and 2006 respectively.
Turkey, Finland, Slovenia, South Africa and Croatia are also on course for record-breaking showings in 2012 mainly due to the increase in number of Japanese senior travelers.
Most regional and gateway airports including Kansai Airport in Osaka and Chubu Airport in Nagoya reported increases in number of Japanese traveling abroad in the first 6 months of last year compared to that in 2011 . With a total of 3,969,441 overseas travels, which is an 18.21% surge, Tokyo Narita Airport boasted the highest performances. The transfer of some services from Narita Airport to Haneda Airport has caused an increase in the number of outbound travels for the latter.
Only Fukushima Airport did not post an increase in the number of Japanese traveling abroad.