Images of a river of lava spewing from the foot of Hawaii´s Kilauea Volcano have been shared continuously in the media over the past month. The effects have been devastating. Unfortunately, though as one might expect, the effects have extended to the tourism sector.
Since the start of the eruptions of Kilauea on May 3, bookings have slowed. For the period between May 3 and 31 total bookings were down by 9.8%. Some countries showed even stronger reactions: Canada (-23.2%), Australia (-32.2%), China (-39.8%), Germany (-47.7%), and New Zealand (-27.5%). The only exception seems to be the Japanese, whose bookings were up by 10.6%.
How come the Japanese, who are usually among the ones that react strongest to crisis situations, seem unaffected this time? As ForwardKeys CEO and co-founder, Olivier Jager, said: “Our hypothesis is that because Japan sits on the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ and has over a hundred active volcanoes, it is so used to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that they cease to be newsworthy; indeed, the situation in Hawaii has featured less in the news in Japan than it has elsewhere. An analysis of online news clips of the Kilauea eruption revealed that media exposure in Japan was just 0.2% of total exposure worldwide.”
Luckily, there is some good news to share as well. Looking ahead at the coming five months, bookings are still 2.2% ahead of where they were at this time last year.