Market Trends

Last Updated on: 19 November 2013

Japan is the new "comeback kid" thanks to good growth, which started to be seen in 2012 for the first time in over a decade.  This growth looks certain to continue due to strong consumer confidence.  Research shows Japanese youth are motivated by adventure and refreshment, which is also great news for New Zealand as these types of activities exist in abundance.


Key Indicators

OECD (GDP Growth) (Exchange rates)

Exchange Rate vs NZD JPY89.4496 = NZD1 (April 2014)
Expected GDP Growth

+1.6% 2013 (forecast)

Japan's economy has had a turbulent past few years and was hit particularly hard by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. A strong rebound in 2010 saw GDP grow by 3.9 per cent, before that momentum was abruptly derailed in 2011 by the Japanese tsunami-related nuclear energy crisis and the Thailand floods, all of which saw the economy contract 0.9 per cent.

Japan returned - just - to positive growth in 2012. The OECD and other leading institutions are forecasting Japan to enjoy a period of growth through to 2016.

For more detailed information on the Japanese economy, visit or read the economic analysis on New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Japan country brief.

Outbound Travel

Japanese outbound travel began rebounding strongly in 2010 after four years of contraction. In 2011, 17 million Japanese travelled abroad, up 2.1 per cent on 2010, despite seeing outbound travel fall as much as 50 per cent in the months immediately following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan's east coast in March 2011. In 2012, 18.4 million Japanese travelled abroad, up 8.8 per cent on 2011.

Total outbound travel from Japan continues to be impacted by regional tensions and disputes that affect demand for short-haul travel especially to China and South Korea. Sales to many long-haul destinations are steadily improving.

For more information about travel style, and definitions for each group, visit the Tourism Strategy Group's website.

Tourism New Zealand's research shows our target market in Japan is looking for a holiday destination where they can have fun, feel happy, refreshed, relaxed, safe and comfortable. Senior Japanese travellers are looking to be in harmony with nature, while younger travellers are seeking a sense of fun and adventure. Being active in the outdoors is a common interest across all age groups. Compared to visitors from other visitor markets, Japanese visitors place less importance on engaging in personal challenges or getting an adrenaline rush.

Airline Update

Air New Zealand announced in June 2013 the withdrawal of scheduled direct return services between Auckland and Osaka from 30 September 2013. Air New Zealand will focus on growing demand to and from Japan, with the aim of building to daily services from Tokyo via a dedicated 300+ seat aircraft.

Tourism New Zealand is strengthening its support of Air New Zealand's services in Tokyo market and continues to support the Japan charter programme, which Air New Zealand intends to expand. 

All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Air New Zealand opened code-share services between Japan and New Zealand in March 2012, which has significantly improved access from across regional Japan to points across New Zealand. ANA are increasing their promotions of New Zealand to their large customer and retail base.

Tourism New Zealand is also expanding its support across other airline partners across Japan and particularly in the Kansai market who offer daily one-stop access to New Zealand.

A number of airlines provide one-stop connections from Japan to New Zealand including Jetstar, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas.