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Japan travel sector cheers as Chinese tour groups return, but overcrowding concerns remain

Japan travel sector cheers as Chinese tour groups return, but overcrowding concerns remain

  • Before the pandemic, Chinese travelers were a major driver of Japan’s tourism sector, accounting for around 30 percent of all foreign arrivals.
  • There are some concerns that with the return of Chinese travelers to Japan, there will also be a return to overcrowded tourist attractions.
China is resuming Japan-bound tour groups following a 3-year ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Kyodo

China is resuming Japan-bound tour groups following a 3-year ban due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Kyodo

Japan’s travel industry has welcomed the news that China lifted its ban on tour groups entering the country after a three-year Covid-19 hiatus, but some fear old concerns of overcrowding may return.

The Chinese embassy in Tokyo informed Japan’s foreign ministry on Wednesday of its decision on tour groups. Independent Chinese travellers have been permitted to visit since April. An estimated 134,400 Chinese arrived in May, an increase of roughly 660 percent from the same month last year, but still well short of figures before the health crisis.

Some 9.59 million Chinese visited Japan in 2019, the last full year before the pandemic impacted global travel. That figure accounted for around 30 percent of all foreign arrivals, with Chinese spending 1.77 trillion yen (US$12.3 billion), nearly 37 percent of all foreign tourists’ spending.

While Japan’s travel firms will undoubtedly welcome Chinese tour groups, there are some concerns, notably around a return to overcrowded tourist attractions in the top destinations of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, as well as staff shortages and limitations to tourism infrastructure.

source: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/people/article/3230705/japan-travel-sector-cheers-chinese-tour-groups-return-overcrowding-concerns-remain?module=lead_hero_story&pgtype=homepage
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