Local travel agencies and airlines are upbeat on revenue contributions from Japan-bound tours this year on the back of a weaker yen and expect sales to continue growing this quarter with an extended Lunar New Year break this year.
Star Travel Corp (燦星國際旅行社), one of the nation’s top online travel agencies, yesterday announced that it was teaming up with Okura Hotels & Resorts, a luxury hotel group in Japan, to offer upscale group tours to Tokyo from March.
“This will be an unprecedented offer,” Star Travel manager Joseph Chu (瞿光復) told a media briefing.
Japan-bound tours accounted for about 30 percent of the company’s revenue last year. With the new promotional packages, Star Travel expects revenue from Japan tours to grow 30 percent this year from last year.
Phoenix Tours International Inc (鳳凰國際旅行社) president Anthony Liao (廖文澄) shared Chu’s optimism, saying by telephone yesterday: “The yen’s depreciation may help the company revenues from sales of Japan-related products to rise 20 percent to 30 percent this year.”
For this quarter, Liao said that tour groups to Japan and the US had shown strong seasonal demand, driven by the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, adding that sales might rise 10 percent from a year earlier.
Phoenix Tours posted NT$632.77 million (NT$21.75 million) in revenue in the first quarter of last year, with full-year sales reaching NT$2.84 billion, up 6.09 percent from a year earlier, the company said.
China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空), the nation’s largest carrier, also expects revenue from passenger routes to Japan and China to drive sales in the first quarter.
Data released by CAL showed that seats on round-trip flights from Taiwan to Japan over the Lunar New Year holiday — from Feb. 10 to Feb. 17 — are nearly fully booked. Last year, the carrier saw its sales inch up just 0.28 percent to NT$132.61 billion from the previous year.