All Nippon Airways (ANA) has warned that Japanese outbound leisure travel demand remains weak, a stark contrast to the strong recovery from inbound travellers. 

Speaking in Istanbul at the IATA annual general meeting, airline chief Shinichi Inoue cites two main reasons for the weaker demand: traveller mindset, as well as economics. 


Source: Billypix

ANA president and CEO Shinichi Inoue

Inoue says Japanese travellers still remain conservative, pointing out that some “are worried about going overseas and getting [infected with] Covid-19”. 

“Now even within Japan, some travellers are hesitant about travelling to regional areas,” he adds. 

Inoue adds the weaker Japanese Yen “has placed more burden on Japanese people trying to travel overseas for leisure”, while fuel surcharges have increased on the back of rising fuel prices. 

According to the Star Alliance carrier, inbound travel demand – excluding travellers from Mainland China, where restrictions have yet to fully lift – has recovered to about 66% of pre-pandemic levels. 

In contrast, outbound travel numbers in March are just 36% that of pre-pandemic levels. 

Inoue welcomes moves by the Japanese government and the broader travel industry to help drive outbound travel, including offering the passport renewal fee discounts, and says the airline is ready to do more to help. 

“We want to ease this mindset and turn winter into spring, and into summer,” says Inoue.

He also notes that during the recent May ‘Golden Week’ public holidays, ANA has seen an uptick in Japanese travellers on its flights to Hawaii, a positive development in recovery. 

Separately, Inoue told reporters the airline is seeing network opportunity in Mainland China-North America flights via Japan, amid ongoing flight restrictions for carriers in the two countries. 

Noting that transit demand system-wide remains strong, he adds ANA is seeing “new demand” from Mainland Chinese travellers, a “positive impact on our overall demand”.