ETOA report asserts Japanese importance as an origin market for Europe

Published on : Thursday, December 5, 2013

etoa logoThe European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) has released a report pointing out that Japan remains a vital market for Europe in the coming decade.

Tom Jenkins said: “All markets are important, and new markets are particularly welcome. But in tourism you cannot have new old friends. Japan has been a wonderful customer for Europe ever since the 1970’s, and has consistently been delivering nearly four million visitors every year over the last decade.”
“What Japanese clients bring is an extraordinary level of informed enthusiasm: it is always the most original designs and authentic products that attract their custom. To be endorsed by Japanese clients is a mark of quality.”

But Japanese consumers buy their holidays under consumer regulations drafted in the 1990’s. These regulations gave travellers an extraordinary degree of freedom and protection. They are able to delay formal confirmation of bookings until 30 days prior to departure. Unless the product delivered is exactly that specified, the consumer is entitled to punitive levels of compensation even if the provider offers them a superior replacement. Thus if a room is offered with a double bed rather than two singles, or if a four star hotel is substituted with a five star, substantial compensation is liable to be paid.

“It is the combination” said Jenkins “of late confirmation, low materialisation and stringent demands for exact precision that is proving to be difficult. Europe has become a seller’s market for hotels, and hoteliers are becoming increasingly reluctant to hold on to rooms for the exclusive use of Japanese clients. All consumer regulations cost money, and the cost is always borne by the consumer. Japanese clients are paying for automatic compensation with higher costs and reduced choice. If we were able to address their needs on the spot, we could offer a better range of product at a better price with improved service.”

“Europe has much to offer Japan, and Japanese clients are treasured guests in Europe. The variety, depth and antiquity of European culture correlates perfectly with the sophistication of the Japanese consumer.”

“This is why we greatly welcome the Team Europe strategy recently launched by the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) to increase the promotion of Europe to the Japanese consumer. Wherever possible, we will support its initiatives.”

 

source: ETOA

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