THE long-awaited turnaround in the slumping Japanese tourism market could finally be underway.
New research reveals 4100 more passengers from Japan passed through Brisbane Airport last month than the same time last year. The figure is a 30.8 per cent increase in the number of arrivals from Japan in February 2011.
It is the first time in a decade the year-on-year comparison has shown growth in the number of Japanese travellers choosing Queensland as a destination.
Brisbane Airport CEO and managing director Julieanne Alroe says the February increase shows that Queensland is again regaining popularity as a key leisure destination for Japanese travellers.
“While there has been a significant downturn in visitors from Japan in recent years and, especially following last year’s earthquake and tsunami, our February statistics are a promising sign that Japan is healing from this tragedy,” she says.
“Notably, the growth in Japanese visitors to Brisbane considerably exceeds the national year-on-year growth for this market which was 2.1 per cent for January.”
Japan was Brisbane’s fifth largest tourist market in 2010, but fell to 14th place last year. It has since recovered ground ranking as the city’s 10th largest visitor market.
Overall passenger numbers rose 8.2 per cent, with an additional 116,000 travellers passing through domestic and international terminals compared to the same time last year.
There were a further 200,000 seats to-and-from Brisbane offered and more than 1800 extra flights operated during the month.