14th March [London]: As the Cherry Blossom season begins in Japan Expedia.co.uk has reported a significant year on year increase (19%) in searches for Japan for this popular season so far this year, marking the growing popularity of this destination.
In 2012, Expedia.co.uk saw the country’s tourism industry was already making an impressive recovery following the previous year’s tragic events. For 2012, Expedia.co.uk noted a 48% increase in bookings to Japan across the year, and a 49% increase in bookings for the capital Tokyo compared to 2011 – outpacing overall growth figures for Japan, following significant efforts from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) to encourage tourists back to the country.
Before the earthquake of 2011, tourism in Japan showed healthy growth and was stronger than the global average. From January to 1st March, tourism was 24% above average, while global tourism stood at just 19% above average. However, immediately after the earthquake the number of inbound tourists decreased by 60%. 
Following the 2011 disaster, the JNTO worked hard with many partners including Expedia to show that many parts of Japan, including popular holiday destinations such as Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji, Nagasaki and Okinawa, outside the affected area of north-eastern Japan, received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas has continuously operated as normal.
Expedia.co.uk MD Andy Washington said “It is great to see such strong recovery for Japanese tourism – Japan has grown in popularity over the past few years, and 2013 looks set to be a great year for visitor numbers. We were very pleased to have been able to work with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) following the earthquake in 2011. The campaign which ran from July to October 2011 helped reassure travellers that Japan was open to visitors and achieved a 40% gain in tourism in just eight weeks. It’s certainly very encouraging to see that Japan’s popularity continues to rise today and with the current strength of the pound against the yen and great deals for tourists, we hope more Brits will take advantage of the great value and the warm welcome that Japan offers for those visiting particularly at this time.”
“Rich in culture and breath-taking scenery, Japan also enjoys four seasons and diverse climates, meaning visitors can ski in the north even in summer or swim in southern oceans in the winter – there really is something for everyone,” adds Mitomo Matano, Japan Tourism Agency.
Looking at the key Japanese Cherry Blossom season that runs mainly from late March to mid-April, Expedia.co.uk noted a 30% increase in searches for Japan across Expedia globally – suggesting Japan is poised to see continued growth in tourism in 2013.
The top 5 searched for destinations in 2013 include;
Expedia.co.uk has a range of holiday options for Brits looking to experience the country first hand. Expedia insider tips include checking out a morning fish market in Tokyo to enjoy the freshest of sushi, to a shopping venture in Harajuku – for all that Japanese fashion has to offer.
For further tips visit http://inside.expedia.co.uk/node/261
For those interested in the Cherry Blossom season, Expedia is offering 5 nights at the Hotel Nikko Osakafrom £878 per person, based on two sharing a standard double room and return flights.
For more information on Expedia please contact Expedia Press Office on 020 7395 7181 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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