The world's third largest economy has experienced an economic slowdown over the last several years. A weakening yen and rising costs have resulted in reduced consumer confidence and travel spending, according to Destination Canada's Global Tourism Watch. Despite this, Japan remains the world's fifth largest source market for worldwide outbound long-haul travel, according to ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015-16.
Notwithstanding the country's economic decline, Japanese arrivals to Canada are on the rise. Canada welcomed 238,000 visitors from Japan in 2014, an increase of 16% from the previous year. Canada's main draw in the eyes of Japanese travellers is its natural beauty and scenery, and Alberta is well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.
Nearly half of Japanese visitors to Canada in 2014 were between the ages of 25-45. These travellers are young and well-educated, seeking more value and looking for experiential travel. The influence of travel agents in this market cannot be overlooked with 60% of bookings coming from this channel, according to Global Tourism Watch 2012. Travel Alberta works together with Destination Canada and active Canadian provinces to position unique, experiential and themed products and itineraries with Japanese tour operator partners.
Air capacity between Canada and Japan has expanded since 2014, with the addition of scheduled, non-stop passenger service from Tokyo-Haneda Airport to Vancouver and Toronto, and seasonal summer service from Osaka-Kansai Airport to Vancouver. Travel Alberta is working to capitalize on this increased lift, while ensuring support for Air Canada's Tokyo-Narita to Calgary flight remains a priority.
Opportunity for growth
Growing independent travel segment and strong winter product in the Yukon and Northwest Territories to leverage and grow winter visitation for Alberta
- Capitalize on the increased demand for FIT travel by positioning unique, experiential and themed products to grow independent travel visitation through the province
- Leverage the strong Canada brand by partnering with Destination Canada and provincial partners
- Work with travel trade to increase visitation during need periods and diversify experience offering within Alberta
- Position Alberta in the MICE segment through strong vertical alignment with Alberta industries