“Here we go again Japan” — Airline ticket bookings soar ahead of summer vacation

Mr. Chamo, 34, who works for a large company, decided to take another summer vacation to Japan. In January this year, she went on a three-day, four-night free trip to Tokyo, Japan, but with the exchange rate still hovering around 960 to 970 won per 100 yen, the cost of a round-trip ticket has dropped by more than half.

“If I go on a vacation to Japan in early July, I can save a lot of money on airfare and hotel bills,” Cha said, “and I plan to visit small towns in Japan whenever I have time.”


A large number of travelers are expected to visit Japan and Southeast Asia this summer for vacation. More travelers are choosing to spend their first summer vacations since the COVID-19 pandemic in the era of high prices in nearby countries.

According to the airline industry on Jan. 21, bookings for short- and medium-haul flights to Japan and Saipan have increased significantly ahead of the peak summer season (late July to early August).

Already, Jeju Air has seen bookings to Sapporo, Japan, reach the mid-80s during the peak season from late July to early August. Bookings to the Japanese island resort of Okinawa are also in the low 70s. The airline’s Saipan route is in the late 60s, and its Hanoi and Vientiane, Laos routes are in the mid-60s.

The airline’s peak summer booking rates are also highest in Sapporo and Osaka, Japan, and Da Nang, Vietnam.

It’s worth noting that the popularity of Japan, a country near and far, is not slowing down. This is because the yen has continued to weaken against market expectations, and round-trip ticket prices have dropped significantly.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), 6.795 million foreigners visited Japan from January to April this year, a 28-fold increase from the same period last year. Of those, 2.067 million Koreans traveled to Japan, a 125-fold increase over the same period. The number of Koreans traveling to Japan hasn’t slowed down this month.

The plummeting prices of round-trip flights to Japan, especially on low-cost carriers (LCCs), are also contributing to the increase in bookings. T Way Airlines’ Incheon-Fukuoka route, which was priced at 300,000 to 400,000 won round-trip during the May holidays, dropped by nearly half to 130,000 won in mid-June.

At the end of June, Jeju Air’s Incheon-Fukuoka route cost 220,000 won round-trip, down more than 50 percent from the 500,000 won mark during the May holidays. “Even during the peak season in mid-July, when summer vacations begin, you can fly to and from Japan for around 300,000 won,” said an airline industry insider, adding, “Vietnam and Taipei, Taiwan, are also popular destinations, and there are many deals in the 60,000 to 100,000 won round-trip range.”

Incheon Airport Corporation

The burden of international fuel surcharges is also decreasing. Korean Air 안전놀이터has set fuel surcharges (one-way) for international tickets issued in June at 14,000 to 17,800 won, down nearly 20,000 won from May (16,800 to 132,000 won). Asiana Airlines is also adjusting its fuel surcharges for June to 14,700 to 85,300 won one-way. Fuel surcharges for international flights had soared to 339,000 won in July and August last year following a spike in oil prices.

Airlines are planning to increase or reopen popular routes ahead of the summer peak season. Asiana Airlines will increase the number of flights between Sapporo, Japan, Cebu and Clark, Philippines, and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, from June, and Saipan and Nagoya and Okinawa, Japan, from July. Jeju Air will reopen its Incheon-Ulaanbaatar route on June 1 and launch a new Incheon-Oita route on June 22.

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