Filipinos are rethinking their plans to travel to Japan due to the recent price increase of the Japan Rail (JR) pass, its nationwide unlimited rail pass, according to travel platform Klook.
Survey findings from Klook showed that 44% of Filipino respondents are unsure or have no plans to buy the pass for their next trip to Japan.
The price of the seven-day ordinary car JR pass grew by about 70% with expanded services for foreign travelers last month, as announced by the Japan Railways Group in April.
Klook also reported that 96% of Filipino travelers still want to go to Japan because of other affordable transportation options and a weaker Japanese Yen.
In the Philippines, Klook recorded a 228% growth in the number of daily bookings to Japan in October from January.
“This number is expected to rise as Japan enters its first-ever peak travel season since the pandemic,” it said in an e-mailed press statement to reporters on Wednesday.
Estimates from the Japan National Tourism Organization showed about 2,156,900 international travelers to the country in August, a 1,169.5% year-on-year increase.
This number is 14.4% lower than the volume of tourists in August 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, it added.
Given the abundance of transport alternatives in Japan, only 6% of Filipino travelers found its transport system confusing to navigate, Klook noted.
They were most familiar with Shinkansen, or bullet trains that operate at the highest rail speed. Klook said its sales have consecutively exceeded those of JR pass for the four weeks following the price hike.
Additionally, Filipino travelers saw affordability (56%), ease of ticket booking and redemption (46%), and taking the scenic route (40%) as top considerations when choosing a mode of transportation, Klook said.
It also saw an inclination to explore less-traveled areas of Japan at 92%. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola