Roughly the same number of Japanese citizens traveled overseas in 2000 and 2017 — about 18 million — despite the timeframe being one of incredible growth for international travel worldwide.
“The language barrier and the lack of consecutive holidays are some of the reasons why domestic travel is preferred,” said Furuya, adding that “work environments that make it difficult to take paid vacations” is another factor
He also cited the attractiveness of Japan’s nature, history, and culture as further incentive to stay close to home.
This will place additional pressure on destinations that are popular with Japanese tourists, namely Taiwan, South Korean and Hawaii.
But Hanada said, with time, Japanese citizens will likely travel again.
“The Japanese are easily swayed by the majority, a sentiment that will change in five years,” he said.
Furuya said he expects it won’t take that long.
“After seeing and hearing how active Westerners are, we expect to see a return to the pre-2020 demand for international travel sooner rather than later,” he said.
Others are staying home too
Beyond Japan, other travelers say they too have lost their luster for travel.
The British artist known as Miles Takes told CNBC Travel that “international travel still seems a while away” for him.
“In the past, I loved to travel and as recently as the beginning of this year, I have travelled to Singapore and Poland from London,” he said. But “both these trips triggered anxiety which has since gotten a lot worse.”
A combination of things turned him off from traveling, he said, including Covid, travel disruptions and having a medically vulnerable partner.
Singaporean Daniel Chua says he’s in no rush to travel for “a mixed bag of reasons.”
But Covid isn’t one of them, he said.
A work trip to Europe in June exposed him to a “mess” of flight delays and staffing shortages, he said. Additionally, he said virtual meetings are a more efficient use of work time.
Chua also cited sustainability as a disincentive to travel, calling it a “core belief in my work and personal life.”
But he acknowledged he’s surrounded by people who are traveling.
“I don’t talk to them about why I don’t travel, not to burst their bubble or to, you know, be the party pooper amidst all of this celebration,” he said. “For me, it’s a personal decision.”
Chua said he believes there are more people who feel like him, but that they’re traveling out of peer pressure or because of FOMO — or the “fear of missing out.”
Neither affect him though, he said.
“I have traveled so much previously,” he said. “There’s no particular country in the world that I really must visit right now.”
This article was originally published by CNBC.