Japan sees smaller dips

JAPAN inbound is on the mend, with smaller declines being recorded from major sources. Japan National Tourism Organisation figures show foreign arrivals in June and July were 36 per cent lower than in the same period in 2010. This compares with whopping drops of 62 per cent and 50 per cent in April and May respectively.

  21/10/2011 08:32

Japan Tourism Agency commissioner, Hiroshi Mizohata,  said: “We are now seeing the start of a full recovery.”

China, its second largest source, shrank 40.1 per cent in August, compared to 49.5 per cent in April. China proved to be Japan's most resilient source, dipping the least when Japan was first hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

Yuki Ye, deputy manager of business department, Century Holiday International Travel Group Shenzhen, said bookings for her company to Japan were down 20 per cent overall to-date.

“Our Chinese clients are not as perturbed by the radiation threat as they were when the Fukushima nuclear plant went into meltdown in March. Many are looking at Japan again, and even Tokyo, which is relatively close to the Fukushima radiation hotspot,” she said. Ye expects traffic from China to return to previous levels by end-2012.

Hong Kong, Japan's fourth largest source, shrank 25.5 per cent in August - versus a massive 87.6 per cent in April.

Benny Liu, assistant manager, global business, JTB China, said: “The market from Hong Kong to Japan is recovering and should continue to do so into 2012 but the bulk of demand is being driven by younger customers; older people are still wary and nervous about travelling to Japan despite the more positive picture painted by the media.”

Singapore, Japan's sixth largest source, saw a dip of 24 per cent in August, compared to 82.9 per cent in April.

Sabura Bagum, director (business development), NSK@Work, said: “There have been no enquiries for MICE to Japan by Singapore-based clients since the tragedy. But we have been receiving some bookings for FIT and leisure travel.”

TTG Asia


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