Travel Profile (total)

  Yr/Yr % Chg
Visitor Spending (2016p) $1.2 billion -
California Market Share (2015) 15.4% -
Visitors to California (2016p) 548,000 -
2017 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 558,000 +1.8%
2021 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 583,000 +6.4%
2021 Spending Forecast $1.3 billion -

(updated May 2017)
U.S. Department of Commerce; Tourism Economics 

Leisure Travel Profile (55% of total)  

Vacation/Holiday 79% 117
Hotel/Motel 75% 102
Average Length of Stay - Nights 6.5 51
Average Spend Per Trip $1,867 94
Average Destinations Visited Per Trip 2.2 70
Average Party Size 2 117
Travel with Children 17.5% 130

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce; CIC Research, Inc.



Market Conditions

Japan GDP Quarterly Growth Rate
Japanese Yen
GDP annual growth rate is estimated to grow 0.5 percent in 2016. Looking forward, it is estimated that the GDP growth rate will stand at 0.30 percent in the year 2017. In the longterm, the GDP annual growth rate in Japan is projected to trend around 0.5 percent through 2020.   Check current exchange rates on www.xe.com.

  • The government favors a weaker Japanese yen to encourage exports and improve profits at major corporations
  • The yen is seen as a safe haven currency for traders around the world; global uncertainties caused the yen to strengthen from 121 yen to the U.S. dollar in February to the 101 yen range during summer
  • The yen began weakening after the U.S. election and is trading in the 110 yen range at the end of 2016
Sources: International Monetary Fund, Tradingeconomics.com, Cabinet Office, Japan



Competitive Landscape


Market Barriers

  • Hawaii and Australia continue to be the key competitors for California in Japan, and both have seen increases in air service over the last year (particulary Australia)
    • More air capacity has encouraged the travel industry to promote Australia heavily, resulting in year-over-year visitor growth over 20 percent
  • Canada, a competitor for the traveler interested in natural beauty, continues the growth trend begun in 2014 and recorded year-over-year monthly growth over 20 percent in summer 2016
  • Due to security concerns over Europe, tour operators continue to shift group tours for seniors to the United States, especially California and the west coast, Canada and Oceania
  • Orlando, Florida continues to be a competitor for the family and young female segment but special events and new investments at California’s theme parks boosted the state’s competitiveness in 2015/16
  • Domestic Japan destinations are real competitors for all overseas destinations, as Japanese rediscover their own country thanks to improved tourism product and infrastructure in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
  • Increased inbound demand (up 50 percent annually in the last two years) is putting pressure on air seat capacity, contributing to a shortage of seats to the United States during peak travel periods
  • Weaker yen makes travel to the United States more expensive
  • Motivating young millenials to travel overseas continues to be a challenge for all destinations.



Risk Factors

  • Deflation continues to be a major risk, despite some easing of deflationary pressures in recent years
  • No country in the world faces the prospects of such a large population decline as Japan, and this fact threatens the future economic growth of the country






  • 111 weekly nonstop flights from six airlines to four gateway cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose
  • 28,107 weekly nonstop seats
  • American Airlines began daily Tokyo Haneda to Los Angeles service in February 2016
  • Planning timeframe: 2–6 months
  • Booking time frame: 1–3 months
  • Thirty percent book package or group tours; the remaining 70 percent arrange air/hotel via retail travel agencies, online travel agencies and directly with airlines
  • All of the largest 25 tour operators package California; strong growth in escorted group tours for seniors showcasing California’s natural beauty



Other Market Insights

  • Market:
    • Outbound travel has grown
      • After three years of declines, outbound travel for the first eight months of 2016 was up approximately 5.5 percent, with growth spurred by cheaper tour package prices, eliminated fuel surcharges, and a stronger yen
  • Product Experience:
    • Majority of Japanese desire international travel
      • Nearly 60 percent of Japanese indicate a desire to travel overseas – the highest percentage since 2009
      • The market is forecasted to continue to grow through 2016 to reach approximately 17 million outbound travelers; this would be an improvement over the last two years but still short of the 2012 high of 18.5 million outbound travelers
    • Solitary travel is a rising trend
      • Solitary travel is on the rise, especially among men and women over 60 who are happy to travel even without a companion
      • People traveling alone account for 23.6 percent of the total market, a record high
    • Once-in-a-lifetime and luxury experiences growing
      • Once-in-a-lifetime trips and luxury travel experiences are gaining popularity among travelers over 50 and Japan’s small, but growing high-earning segment
    • Visually dramatic views are a travel motivator
      • Japanese of all ages are continuing to seek locations offering magnificent scenic views or zekkei
      • Recently there is interest in traveling for “Instagramworthy” views/shots, especially among young women
      • There is continued passion for varied and rich culinary experiences, shopping and historic/cultural attractions
  • Audience:
    • Older members of the population are eager to relive their youth
      • 33 million Japanese are over 65 and now outnumber those aged 14 or younger by two to one
      • Seniors are healthy, wealthy and increasingly eager to relive their youth, including taking part in activities such as surfing, biking, hiking and motorcycle riding
    • Women in their 20s are the largest segment of female travelers
      • Women in their 20s accounted for 1.54 million outbound travelers in 2015; while this segment is only half the size of its peak in the 1990s, it remains the largest market segment among women travelers
      • Young women continue to be trendsetters in their choice of travel destinations and travel styles



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