Examining the Seasonality of Travel-Related Expenditure by Travel Purpose: The Case of Japan


  • Kenichi Shimamoto Konan University


Addressing seasonality for the travel industry has been a challenge for many tourist destinations. Japan is no exception, and with its recent focus on developing into a tourism nation, it has become even more critical to understand seasonality trends. Methods to address seasonality, such as differential pricing, diversified attraction, market diversification, and facilitation by the state will require the segmentation of themarket to formappropriate strategies. Therefore, to provide insight into the seasonality of different markets, this paper categorises the travel-related expenditure into six consumption items for three travel purposes: holiday travel, visiting friends and relatives (vfr) travel, and business travel. It examines the trends and characteristics of the seasonality and the fluctuation across the fiscal years from2010 to 2017 for domestic travel in Japan. The results show that amongst all three travel purposes, the consumption items with relatively low seasonality and fluctuation across the observation period with stable highest and lowest expenditure months over the years, are shopping/travel gifts expenditure for holiday travel; transportation and food/drink expenditure for vfr travel; and transportation expenditure for business travel. In contrast, the consumption items across the travel purposes with relatively significant seasonality and inconsistent highest and lowest expenditure months over the years are package holidays/tours expenditure and attraction/entrance expenditure for vfr and business travel; and accommodation expenditure for business travel.

Keywords: tourism seasonality, consumption items, travel purpose, Japan

Author Biography

Kenichi Shimamoto, Konan University

Kenichi Shimamoto specializes in Environmental and Urban/Regional Economics, Policy and Management, lecturing at Konan University in Japan as an Associate Professor. He has written extensively in the field of the relationship between globalisation and environmental policy, urban and regional studies and tourism management policy, with publications in the Tourism and Hospitality Management, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Ecological Economics, Applied Economics, World Economy and the Energy Journal. His research interests include sustainable regional development and inequity of resources and resource economics. He holds a doctorate degree in Development Policy and Management from the Institute of Development, Policy and Management of the University of Manchester. After completing his Ph.D., he worked as a Researcher at the Department of Economics at the University of Birmingham.



Allcock, J. B. (1989). Seasonality. In S. F. Witt & L. Mutinho (Eds.), Tourism marketing and management Handbook (pp. 387–392). Englewood Cliffs, nj: Prentice-Hall.

Ball, R. M. (1988). Seasonality: A Problem forworkers in the tourism labour market. Service Industries Journal, 8(4), 501–513.

Bar-On, R. R. (1975). Seasonality in tourism: A guide to the analysis of seasonality and trends for policymaking (Technical Series No. 2). London, England: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Baum, T., & Hagen, L. (1999). Responses to seasonality: The experiences of peripheral destinations. International Journal of Tourism Research, 1(5), 299–312.

Butler, R.W. (1994). Seasonality in tourism: Issues and problems. In A. V. Seaton (Ed.), Tourism: The state of the art (pp. 332–339). Chichester, England: Wiley.

Butler, R. W. (2001). Seasonality in tourism: Issues and implications. In T. Baum & S. Lundtorp (Eds.), Seasonality in tourism (pp. 5–22). Oxford, England: Pergamon.

Butler, R. W., & Mao, B. (1997). Seasonality in tourism: Problems and measurement. In P. Murphy (Ed.), Quality management in urban tourism (pp. 9–23). Chichester, England: Wiley.

Commons, J., & Page, S. J. (2001). Managing seasonality in peripheral tourism regions. In T. Baum & S. Lundtorp (Eds.) Seasonality in tourism (pp. 153–172). Oxford, England: Pergamon.

Coshall, J., Charlesworth, R., & Page, S. J. (2015). Seasonality of overseas tourism demand in Scotland: A regional analysis. Regional Studies, 49(10), 1603–1620.

De Cantis, S., Ferrante, M., & Vaccina, F. (2011). Seasonal pattern and amplitude: A logical framework to analyse seasonality in tourism: An application to bed occupancy in sicilian hotels. Tourism Economics, 17(3), 655–675.

Development Bank of Japan & Japan Economic Research Institute Inc. (2017). Shucho marketingni kansuru dokoto kongo shucho ryokono tourism gyokai niokeru impact.Retrieved from https://www.dbj.jp/ja/topics/region/ industry/files/0000029022_file2.pdf

Duro, J. A. (2016). Seasonality of hotel demand in the main Spanish provinces: Measurements and decomposition exercises. Tourism Management, 51, 52–63.

Duro, J. A. (2018). Seasonality of tourism: A new decomposition. Tourism Economics, 24(5), 615–621.

Faulkner, B., & Tideswell, C. (1997). A framework for monitoring community impacts of tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 5(1), 3–28.

Fernández-Morales,A. (2017). Tourism mobility in time and seasonality in tourism. Rivista Italiana di Economia Demograia e Statisitca, 71(2), 35–52.

Fernández-Morales, A., Cisneros-Martinez, J. D., & Mc-Cabe, S. (2016). Seasonal concentration of tourism demand: Decomposition analysis and marketing implications. Tourism Management, 56, 172–190.

Fernández-Morales, A., & Mayorga-Toledano, M. C. (2008). Seasonal concentration of the hotel demand in Costa del Sol: A decomposition by nationalities. Tourism Management, 29(5), 940–949.

Getz, D., & Nilsson, P. A. (2004). Responses of family businesses to extreme seasonality in demand. Tourism Management, 25(1), 17–30.

Go, R. (1990).Resorts resurgent: Shoulder andoff- season expand their base. Canadian Hotel and Restaurant, 68(8), 43–44.

Goulding, P. J., Baum, T. G.,& Morrison, A. J. (2004). Seasonal trading and lifestyle motivation: Experiences of small tourism businesses in Scotland. Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality & Tourism, 5(2/3/4), 209–238.

Gustafson, P. (2002). Tourism and seasonal retirement migration. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(4): 899–918.

Hartmann, R. (1986).Tourism, seasonality and social change. Leisure Studies, 5(1), 25–33.

Higham, J., & Hinch, T. D. (2002). Tourism, sport and seasons: The challenges and potential of overcoming seasonality in the sport and tourism sectors. Tourism Management, 23(2), 175–185.

Hinch, T. D., & Hickey, G. P. (1997). Tourism attractions and seasonality: Spatial relationships in Alberta. In K. McKay (Ed.), Proceedings of the Travel and Tourism Research Association, Canadian Chapter (pp. 69–76). Winnipeg, Canada: University of Manitoba.

Hinch, T., & Jackson, E. (2000). Leisure constraints research: Its value as a framework for understanding tourism seasonality. Current Issues in Tourism, 3(2), 87–106.

Jang, S. S. (2004). Mitigating tourism seasonality. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(4), 819–836.

Jeffrey, D., & Barden, R. R. D. (1999). An analysis of the nature causes and marketing implications of seasonality in the occupancy performance of English hotels. Tourism Economics, 5(1), 69–91.

Jeffrey, D., Barden, R. R. D., Buckley, P. J., & Hubbard, N. J. (2002). What makes for a successful hotel? Insights on hotel management following 15 years of hotel occupancy analysis in England. Service Industries Journal, 22(2), 73–88.

Jolliffe, L., & Farnsworth, R. (2003). Seasonality in tourism employment: Human resource challenges. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 15(6), 312–316.

Juganaru, M., Aivaz, K. A., & Juganaru, I. D. (2017). A comparative analysis regarding the seasonality of the number of monthly overnight stays in Romania and the European Union in 2005–2016. Transformations in Business and Economics, 24(2a), 513–531.

Karamustafa, K., & Ulama, S. (2010) Measuring the seasonality in tourism with the comparison of different methods. EuroMed Journal of Business, 5(2), 191–214.

Kennedy, E., & Deegan, J. (2001). Seasonality in Irish tourism 1973–1995. In T. Baum & S. Lundtorp (Eds.), Seasonality in tourism (pp. 51–74). Oxford, England: Pergamon.

Koc, E., & Altinay, G. (2007). An analysis of seasonality in monthly per person tourist spending in Turkish inbound tourism from a market segmentation perspective. Tourism Management, 28(1), 227–237.

Krakover, S. (2000). Partitioning seasonal employment in the hospitality industry. Tourism Management, 21(5), 461–471.

Kulendran, N., & Wilson, K. (2000). Modelling business travel. Tourism Economics, 6(1), 47–59.

Lee, C., Bergin-Seers, S., Galloway, G., O’Mahony, B., & Mc-Murray, A. (2008). Seasonality in the tourism industry: Impacts and strategies. Brisbane, Australia: crc for Sustainable Tourism.

Lockwood, A., & Guerrier, Y. (1990).Labour shortages in the international hotel industry. Travel and Tourism Analyst, 6, 17–35.

Lundtorp, S. (2001). Measuring tourism seasonality. In T. Baum & S. Lundtorp (Eds.), Seasonality in tourism (pp. 23–50). Oxford, England: Pergamon.

Lundtorp, S., Rassing, C. R., & Wanhill, S. R. C. (1999). The off-season is ‘no season:’ The case of the Danish island of Bornholm. Tourism Economics, 5(1): 49–68.

Manning, R. E., & Powers, L. A. (1984). Peak and off-peak use: Redistributing the outdoor recreation/tourism load. Journal of Travel Research, 23(2), 25–31.

Mathieson, A., & Wall, G. (1982). Tourism: Economic, physical and social impacts. Essex, England: Longmann.

Morikawa, M. (2008). Service gyoniokerujyuyo-hendo to seisansei (rieti Discussion Paper Series, 08-j-042). Tokyo, Japan: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Murphy, P. E. (1981). Community attitudes to tourism: A comparative analysis. International Journal of Tourism Management, 3(2), 189–195.

Nadal, J. R., Riera-Font, A., & Rossello, A. S. (2004). The economic determinants of seasonal patterns. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(3), 697–711.

Oi, T. (2013). S Shukuhaku-ryoko-tokei-chosa niyoru chiikikakusa no bunseki – Dagum no Gini keisu no yoinbunkai-bunseki wo mochiite. Kenkyu-shoho, 42, 29–48.

Oi, T. (2016). Kanko-chiiki niokeru kanko-jyuyo no kisetsuhendo no yoin-bunseki – Gini keisu oyobi yoin-bunkaishuho nimotozuku jisho-kenkyu. Nihon seisaku kinyuu kouko ronshu, 3, 39–59.

Sen, A. (1973). On economic inequality. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.

Snepenger, D., Houser, B., & Snepenger, M. (1990). Seasonality of demand. Annals of Tourism Research, 17(4), 628–630.

Sutcliffe, C. M., & Sinclair, M. T. (1980). The measurement of seasonality within the tourist industry: An application to tourist arrivals in Spain. Applied Economics, 12(4): 429-441.

Šegota, T., & Mihalič, T. (2018). Elicitation of tourist accommodation demand for counter-seasonal responses: Evidence from the Slovenian Coast. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 9, 258–266.

Turrión-Prats, J., & Duro, J. A. (2018). Tourist seasonality and the role of markets. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 8, 23–31.

Williams, A. M., King, R., Warnes, A., & Patterson, G. (2000). Tourism and international retirement migration: New forms of an old relationship in Southern Europe. Tourism Geographies, 2(1), 28–49.

Witt, S. F., & Moutinho, L. (Eds.) (1995). Tourism marketing and management handbook. London, England: Prentice Hall.

Yagasaki, N. (2015). Kanko-jyuyo no hyojyunka nikansuru ichikosatsu: kyuka-seisaku no hensen ni syotenwo atete. Gendai-shakai-kenkyu, 13, 73–81.




How to Cite

Shimamoto, K. (2019). Examining the Seasonality of Travel-Related Expenditure by Travel Purpose: The Case of Japan. Academica Turistica - Tourism and Innovation Journal, 12(1). Retrieved from https://academica.turistica.si/index.php/AT-TIJ/article/view/157