Island row hits Japan tourism to China
Tuesday 19 October 2010
Japanese tourism to China is rapidly dropping off amid a territorial spat between the Asian economic giants that sparked angry weekend rallies in China, major travel agencies in Tokyo said Monday.
The decline in tour bookings to mainland China comes despite a strong yen, which has traded at 15-year highs against the dollar and boosted Japanese tourism to other overseas destinations, operators said.
Tour bookings to China "have stalled since late September", said a Nippon Travel Agency spokesman, despite the fact that until then they "had staged a V-shape recovery since the summer of last year".
Reservations for tours in December are down by about 10 percent from a year earlier, said the official.
Tourism to China had only recently begun to recover from the effects of major anti-Japan rallies in 2005 as well as other events, including a food-safety scandal, the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and violence in Tibet.
Another major travel agency said its bookings are down 15 percent for November and by 20 percent for December, saying: "Reservations for China tours have slowed while tours abroad in general have been rising this year."
The two neighbours have been at loggerheads since Japan arrested a Chinese fishing boat captain on September 8 near disputed uninhabited islands called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. The skipper has since been released.
Japanese protesters rallied on Saturday against China's claim of the islands, and thousands of Chinese demonstrated against Japan in several Chinese cities in tit-for-tat nationalist demonstrations.
Nippon Travel said it was worried about the added negative impact of the latest rallies in China, in which some protesters smashed windows of Japanese businesses such as an Isetan department store.
"We still don't know the repercussions of the weekend incidents, but we are concerned," the spokesman said.
Other Sino-Japanese exchanges have also fallen victims to the spat.
The education board of Funabashi city outside Tokyo on Sunday cancelled a friendship mission of 40 school children to its Chinese sister city of Xian, the day before their scheduled departure.
"We made the decision in order to give their safety the top priority," said Kozo Suzuki of the Funabashi board. Xian is one of the four Chinese cities that saw major anti-Japan rallies over the weekend.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
The 50 Best spas
Hashima: Among the ruins on Japan's Battleship Island, the place that time forgot
A commuter is getting revenge on First Capital Connect by Photoshopping its CEO's face every time his train is delayed
The 50 Best weekend retreats
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...