Japan quake hits Taiwan tourism

Taiwan said Wednesday it expected to lose millions of dollars in revenue as Japanese tourists cancelled visits to the island following last week's deadly earthquake.

Taiwan's Tourism Bureau estimated a 20 percent decline in Japanese visitors over the coming three months, or more than Tw$1 billion ($33 million) in lost income, said spokesman Wayne Liu.

Last year 1.08 million Japanese people visited Taiwan, making Japan the second largest source of tourists after China, he said.

About half the Taiwanese tour groups due to visit Japan have cancelled scheduled trips this month after the Foreign Ministry issued "red" travel alerts against many parts in the country due to radiation concerns.

Taiwan's EVA Airways cancelled 14 flights scheduled to leave for Tokyo before the end of March and another five to Sapporo citing falling demand, as well as calling off all flights to Sendai until June 30.

Friday's 9.0-magnitude quake, the country's biggest, sparked a 10-metre tsunami estimated to have killed 10,000 people, while also rocking a nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo where crews are struggling to avert a meltdown.

Tourism shares fell 1.35 percent by noon on the Taipei's stock exchange while the broader market was 1.01 percent higher.

aw/ph/dan

 

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