THE TRADE in the region is bracing itself for a dramatic slash in Japanese clients this year, following the tragic earthquake and tsunami that hit the country on March 11.
As expected, bookings from Japan, mainly for the March-April period, have been wiped out since the event, which occurred during the low season for Japanese travel to most South-east Asian countries. Further losses are expected from refunds and waiving of cancellation fees for Japanese bookings.
For H.I.S. International Travel Singapore though, March is the high season for top market Japan. Noting that most cancellations were emotional in nature due to the somber mood, inbound general manager Christina Chiang said: “We’ll be in trouble if the Japanese don’t travel for the rest of the year, but I don’t think this will happen. Once the (nuclear plant) problem is solved, business will return.”
Others are less than hopeful of a full recovery of the Japanese market within the year and are already cutting their losses.
– Full story in TTG Asia, March 25