What is the reason why so many Japanese do not travel abroad?

Night View of Shinjuku City/Anthony Shaw/Adobe Stock

Published Wednesday 2023.02.22 17:46 JST

Tokyo (CNN) The number of Japanese who do not want to travel abroad has increased alarmingly. According to a survey last year by US research firm Morning Consult, 35% of Japanese said they would not travel again, the highest rate of any country.

The results were not surprising, said Tetsu Nakamura, a professor at Tamagawa University who is familiar with tourism behavior and tourism psychology.

According to an attitude survey conducted by Mr. Ishikawa in 2016, about 70% of people said that they wanted to go abroad but would not go, and they would not go because they were not interested in traveling abroad. About 30 percent of respondents said they didn’t.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although Japan’s passports are rated as “the strongest in the world,” less than 20 percent of the population actually owns one.

For some, domestic travel is enough.

Even before going abroad, many Japanese feel that traveling abroad takes time, skill and planning, Mr. Nakamura said.

Kotaro Chomi is one of those Japanese who travels constantly abroad. This photo was taken during a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels / Courtesy Kotaro Toriumi

The complexity of overseas travel procedures and the risk of infection from the coronavirus crisis have deterred people from traveling overseas, explained air travel analyst Ryutaro Torikai.

Mr. Chokai also explained that the Japanese way of thinking has changed due to the corona disaster.

Mr. Chokai said that people who used to travel abroad a lot now feel uneasy about going abroad because of the risk of infection, thinking that domestic travel is enough. More and more people realize that Japan has many attractive tourist destinations that they can now enjoy without going abroad, he said.

He added that those who say they “don’t want to travel again” may simply be stopping travel until the pandemic is fully over.

Many Japanese opt for domestic travel destinations due to travel campaigns against coronavirus

In addition to the weakest yen in decades, many workers in Japan haven’t had a raise in 30 years.

With disposable income falling, more young people may prefer to stay at home or live nearby.

Young people are less likely to travel abroad than older generations because they have less money, and many find online entertainment and smartphone games more fun than traveling abroad, Mr Toriumi said. On the other hand, more seniors are expected to want to go abroad once the coronavirus subsides.

Mr. Nakamura also said that people who have always liked to travel abroad will try to go abroad whenever they have the opportunity, and pointed out that it is these people who are eager to go abroad now.

According to the latest statistics from the Japan National Tourism Administration, the number of Japanese outbound tourists in 2022 will drop by 86.2% from 20 million in 2019 to about 2.7 million.

Toriumi said that people who used to travel just because it was cheap, or who weren’t particularly fond of traveling, don’t travel anymore.

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