Japanese Folks Flocking to Turkey for Vacay as Yen Takes a Dip

Japan18 Views

While tourists worldwide are eyeing Japan thanks to the weaker yen, the opposite is true for Japanese locals—they’re ditching their homeland for fun times in Turkey!

Reported by Asahi Shimbun on Tuesday (May 7, 2024), a whopping 6,000 folks jetted off from Japan to Turkey, marking a 106% jump compared to the same month in 2019.

According to JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co, the numbers soared even higher to 8,000 in February, spiking by a whopping 110% from the same time two years back.

Overall, about 1.22 million Japanese hit foreign shores in March, making up roughly 63% of the pre-pandemic March 2019 numbers.

Why the sudden Turkish love affair? Well, it’s a two-parter: the yen’s not-so-hot performance against the USD and its surprising power-up against the Turkish lira. While it’s not doing so hot against the dollar, the yen’s been flexing its muscles against the lira, which is currently on its lowest streak in a decade.

As global prices shoot up, making hotel stays and flight tickets a pricey affair for Japanese travelers, the lira’s tumble is like a gift from the travel gods.

On April 26, there were lines for days at the Kansai International Airport check-in counters as folks prepped to jet off to Turkey.

“After crunching the numbers on exchange rates, I decided where to go. Europe and the US are a bit out of reach these days,” said one Japanese traveler.

A rep from a Tokyo travel company spilled the beans, saying that the weak lira is giving Japanese travelers a chance at budget-friendly vacations.

Even though the number of available seats on planes for international jaunts hasn’t caught up to pre-pandemic levels, direct flights between Istanbul and Kansai Airport have upped their game from four seats per week to seven per week this spring.

Getting to Turkey’s gotten easier, too, with more flights from Narita and Haneda airports.

Turkey’s government is all smiles, boasting a record-breaking 56.7 million foreign tourists in 2023.

A brainiac from a Japanese research institute gave a heads-up, suggesting that the tourism bigwigs keep an eye on Argentina and Egypt, whose currencies are taking a nosedive against the yen due to some rocky economic patches.

According to May estimates from JTB, Golden Week’s set to see 80 to 90 percent of the pre-pandemic travel fever.

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