The number of Chinese tourists traveling to Japan fell in October for a second straight year.
China is among the largest inbound travel markets to Japan, next to South Korea and Taiwan, but number of arrivals fell 33% yoy to 71,000 visitors in response to international tension over the Senkaku and Diaoyu Islands, reports Asia One news.
The change has been noticeable in Tokyo’s Ginza district, which is usually awash with Chinese visitors arriving by the bus load. According to data from the Japan Tourism Agency, Chinese tourists spend a little over US$2,100 when they visit Japan, so the loss of interest has had a major impact on tourism receipts, and Ginza’s retail sector has been badly hit.
This marks continued decline in arrivals during the October holiday, with last year’s numbers already down because of the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In fact a recent tourism survey by the Development Bank of Japan revealed lingering concern over personal safety in the country, with many respondents citing worries about big earthquakes such as the one in March 2011, and the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Among respondents who had never visited Japan, 70% of South Koreans said they were concerned about the health impact of radioactive contamination. A similar answer was given by 50% of respondents in mainland China who have never been to Japan.
Respondents who had already visited the country however, considered it less of an issue. The proportion fell below 60% for South Korean respondents who had visited Japan at least twice, and to slightly above 30% for Chinese travellers with similar experience.
Despite the level headed outlook of the Chinese travellers, the diplomatic row has caused them to divert travel to other destinations, with the number of arrivals projected to drop 25.3% for 2012.
The DBJ survey covered 4,000 adults in South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia who have made trips abroad. The survey was done by Internet in late October.