Published on: Saturday April 30, 2022
Japan has been preparing for its hectic holiday season since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the country’s government is easing its pandemic measures. However, experts say a rise in infections is likely to keep consumer spending below pre-pandemic levels.
Hotel, airline and high-speed train operator bookings during Golden Week, which begins April 29 and ends in early May, saw a strong comeback compared to the same period last year.
Flight bookings have also increased this year, although the numbers are still well below 2019 levels.
Japan Airlines said domestic flight bookings doubled from a year ago to 801,340, with international bookings increasing 4.2 times to 69,170. Rival ANA Holdings said domestic flight bookings rose 1.4x from 2021 to 783,788, while international bookings climbed 5.6x to 64,896.
West Japan Railway, which operates high-speed trains in this part of the country, said on April 14 bookings for trips between April 28 and May 11 had more than doubled from a year earlier. Osaka is a popular destination this year, with bookings more than quadrupling from the previous year.
The Japanese government rejected nationwide COVID-19 prevention measures by March 21, and restaurants and other businesses resumed normal operations.
To quote Daishiro Yamagiwa, the minister in charge of COVID-19 policy, “I hope everyone can spend Golden Week as normal. Currently, we have not imposed any restrictions, based on our assessment of the situation of the infection.
Ming Chen, founder and CEO of online travel startup KK Day, said bookings for April and May doubled from March, due to pent-up demand during Golden Week.