Japan’s Luxury Tourism Market

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Japan’s Luxury Tourism Market

Key Takeaways

  • Kyoto visitors are now predominantly domestic travelers, including Japanese children on school trips.
  • Locals also visit to have a sense and view of Kyoto "as they used to decades ago" before overtourism stole the place's quiet beauty.
  • Local Kyoto visitors expect to serve one another when drinking alcohol. This is done by pouring drinks into each other's glasses.

Introduction

This research presents an overview of the tourism market in Kyoto, Japan. This includes information on the travelers in Kyoto, their reasons for going, the general expectation including drinking expectations, travel spending, and trip planning. The details are outlined below.

International and Domestic Travelers

  • Before the pandemic, foreign tourists have been a big chunk of the visitors to Kyoto. The greatest portion of foreign visitors were from China (1.15 million tourists), followed by tourists from the US (477,000 tourists) and Taiwan (423,000 tourists).
  • Foreign tourists then represented over "a quarter of spending by visitors to the area." That changed when the pandemic hit and travel restrictions were imposed.
  • According to the Kyoto City Tourism Association, foreign tourists staying in Kyoto's major hotels decreased by 99.7% in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • Kyoto visitors are now predominantly domestic travelers, including Japanese children on school trips.

Reasons for Visiting

  • Locals also visit to have a sense and view of Kyoto "as they used to decades ago" before overtourism stole the place's quiet beauty.
  • In addition, Japanese children also visit Kyoto as part of their school excursions.

General Expectations

  • Prepandemic, Kyoto visitors expect the place to be overcrowded with tourists.
  • During the pandemic, local visitors expect to enjoy the view in a quiet and serene way, knowing that the place is no longer jampacked with foreign visitors.
  • Local Kyoto visitors expect to serve one another when drinking alcohol. This is done by pouring drinks into each other's glasses.
  • In addition, locals expect to not be so drunk when in some formal restaurants as it is considered a bad manner. They instead expect to get drunk in not-so-formal restaurants such as izakaya.

How Much People Spend

  • Visitors' spending in Kyoto reached 1.24 trillion yen before the pandemic hit. Of that, about 331.8 billion yen was accounted for the spending of inbound tourists. There are no current data on how much locals spend in Kyoto during the pandemic.

How They Plan Their Kyoto Trips

  • Kyoto visitors plan their trip by checking and noting which places to visit, what to do in the area, where to eat, how to navigate the area, and where to stay for the night. Ritz-Carlton Kyoto and Suiran Boutique Hotel are some luxury accommodations in Kyoto.
  • In addition, the time/month of the visit is also considered as Kyoto is known to be a seasonal destination. Normally, Kyoto is more crowded in spring during the cherry blossom season.

Research Strategy

For this research on Japan's luxury tourism market, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information in the public domain, including Mainichi, Kotaku, Japan Today, Japan Guide, and The Guardian.

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