Bookings soar for 10-day Golden Week

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A Nippon Travel Agency outlet displays signs and advertisements to promote traveling for this year’s 10-day Golden Week in Tokyo’s Ueno in October.

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Overseas travel reservations are surging in Japan for this year’s 10-day Golden Week period from April 27 to May 6, during which the Imperial succession is set to take place.

As of late January, the number of overseas trip reservations in the period had jumped 2.5-fold from a year before, a JTB Corp. official said.

Many package tours have already sold out at leading travel agencies. They are rushing to arrange additional tours using chartered flights.

This year’s Golden Week has 10 straight days off including May 1, which has been designated as a one-off national holiday as Crown Prince Naruhito is set to ascend to the throne that day, following the Emperor’s abdication on April 30.

At H.I.S. Co., the number of reservations for Golden Week overseas trips had more than tripled from the previous year as of mid-January.

Golden Week trips usually start selling after the New Year’s holidays. This time, however, “trips to popular destinations were mostly sold out in mid-November last year,” an H.I.S. official said.

For those without any workdays during this year’s Golden Week, it is easier to plan ahead and fix travel dates earlier than usual, the official said.

Reservations have increased for trips to distant locations such as Europe and the United States, which tend to be avoided during short holiday periods.

At H.I.S., bookings for trips to Cairns, Australia, saw the largest growth from the previous year, up 11-fold, followed by those to New York and Los Angeles, which both jumped sevenfold.

Package tours to popular destinations “sold out immediately, including those that we’ve offered additionally,” even though they tend to be more expensive than last year, partly due to the longer period, the H.I.S. official said.

At JTB, package tours to Europe, the United States and Australia are popular. Luxury cruise ship tours to destinations such as Hong Kong and Taiwan are sold out.

Cruise ship tours usually draw older people, but this year, “we’ve seen many reservations from [young] families,” thanks to the unusually long holiday period, a JTB official said.

Nippon Travel Agency Co. had enjoyed a 3.6-fold increase in overseas trip reservations as of late January.

Eager to take advantage of the rare business opportunity, the company is rushing to arrange additional package tours to Italy, Spain and other European destinations that are popular this year, as well as those to traditionally popular holiday resorts such as Hawaii.Speech

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