An analysis for tourist flow patterns of inbound tourists to Japan
48 , 2016-03-25 , 空間の理論研究会
In 2003, the Japanese government launched an "inbound travel promotion project" that aims attract 18 million visitors by 2016. Because of this project, the number of foreigners visiting Japan reached to 10 million in 2013. The places they choose to visit, however, are largely concentrated along the "golden route" that links Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and their surrounding areas. The Japanese countryside, by contrast, attracts relatively few visitors outside the Hokkaido and Kyushu districts. This study is designed to investigate the regional concentration of foreign visitors and their tourist flow patterns. It is widely recognized that tourist flow patterns can be divided into two types: the single-destination pattern and the multi-destination pattern. The single-destination pattern is an itinerary that stops at only one destination. The multi-destination pattern is an itinerary that stops at two or more destinations. Around 60% of visitors to Japan adopt the single-destination pattern. Tourists who choose this pattern tend to visit urban areas, leading to a high geographical concentration of foreign visitors in cities. Unlike the single-destination visitors, about 60% of tourists who choose a multi-destination pattern visit the Japanese countryside. Within a multi-destination pattern, nearby places are scrutinized to extract a travel route. As a result, in addition to the golden route, tourists also choose the south Hokkaido route, the east Hokkaido route, the trans-Kyushu route, and the Chubu-Hokuriku route. We did not find any defined travel routes in the Tohoku, Sanin, Shikoku, or south Kyushu districts. Statistics indicate that first-time visitors to Japan usually travel along the golden route. Other countryside routes tend to attract repeat visitors. Taking into consideration spatial diffusion research, it is interesting to consider how the hierarchical effect works on foreign visitors. One could hypothesize that tourists diffuse from high to low ranked destinations. This assumption can be verified by analyzing the ratio of first-time visitors travelling to each destination. Unlike repeaters, many first-time visitors to Japan visit high ranked destinations. Repeaters tend to visit lower ranked destinations. This diffusion process also contributes to the geographic concentration of foreign visitors. Routes that link high ranked destinations (such as the golden route) are the first to become populated by visitors. A logistic regression analysis was carried out clarify the cause of tourist flow patterns.This revealed that "travelling for sight seen", "elderly person" and "choosing package tours" were strongly correlated with the multi-destination pattern. Likewise, people visiting Japan for the first time opted for the multidestination pattern. On the contrary, people traveling alone were much more likely to follow the singledestination pattern.