Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Impact of the Japan Earthquake on Travel

The devastating earthquake in Japan has sparked a chain reaction that shows no sign of stopping: first a tsunami, then a nuclear crisis, contaminated food exports, etc. The impact the Japan earthquake has had on the travel industry is huge as well, with shockwaves spreading throughout Asia and the Pacific Ocean. Here's the lowdown on how the earthquake has affected travel:

First there's the obvious. Travel to Japan is just not happening right now. Most governments have evacuated their citizens, and all are advising against non-essential travel to Japan at this point. It's not just about traveller safety, though; there is a scarcity of resources as more then 200,000 people have lost there homes and basic services like water and electricity are scarce. Business and leisure travel has ground to a halt, and even those who want to help are discouraged from going unless they speak Japanese and are associated with an aid organisation. Most cruise lines, including Oceania and Royal Caribbean, have cancelled port calls in Japan, and many airlines have reduced the number of flights, especially to Tokyo's Haneda Airport.

Then there are the ripples: Japanese tourists are a huge market for destinations like China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Guam and Hawaii. Many Japanese tourists aren't going anywhere at the moment, and are cancelling planned holidays. Thailand, as an example, has seen a huge number of cancellations over April and May, when they usually rely on large numbers of Japanese tourists. Hawaii is expecting losses of tens of millions of dollars from missing tourists from Japan.

Image from News.com.au.

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