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Outbound tours to Japan yet to resume

05-12-2011 10:18 BJT

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Japan is facing a dramatic downturn in visitor numbers following the March earthquake and tsunami. Group tours from some Chinese cities to Japan resumed over the May day holiday.

But as Zhang Nini reports, despite assurances from tourism officials, many Chinese remain hesitant to visit.

Outbound tours to Japan from China used to be very profitable to Beijing based operator China swan international who have now lost nearly thirty percent of its business volume. The agency suspended its popular travel packages after the tsunami while Visa applications have shrunk by about seventy percent in March and April, usually the peak season to visit Japan.

The agency's now providing other tours to make up for the loss in revenue.

Gu Chuan, vice manager of China Swan Intl' Tours, said, "We are thinking of opening two new routes, through north and south, to places such as Kansai and Kyushu,for an in-depth tour in Japan. Or a health tour, which allow visitors to do physical checkups in top Japanese hospitals."

Tourism has suffered since March 11th's devastating disaster, with thousands of hotel reservations being called off. Famous tourist spots popular with domestic and foreign visitors were deserted in the wake of the twin disasters.

Japan has been proactive in trying to restore its tourism industry. On Tuesday, a group of fifty economic and tourism officials from the Toyama Prefecture visited Dalian City to assure that visiting Japan is safe.

But most Chinese have a different view in mind.

A Beijing resident said, "I am not in a rush to visit Japan at the moment. There could have been frequent aftershocks and radiation threats. Beside, most shops and entertainment parks have closed early to save energy. "

"Even though the authorities have vouched for the safety of local food, I am still worried about tainted vegetable and dairy products," said a Beijing resident.

Some tourism agencies are playing the price card. This Guangzhou agent says that the price to Hokkaido is reduced by half now. And the bargain package is attracting some visitors. But he also acknowledged that a complete recovery may take months more to come.


Editor:Liu Fang |Source: CNTV.CN

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