HONG KONG’s inbound and outbound travel to and from Japan have been severely affected by the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in the country.
Based on Travel Industry Council statistics, there were 238 cancelled tour groups with 2,853 travellers scheduled to depart for Japan before March 25. About 51 tour groups with 1,251 travellers will continue to unaffected regions like Okinawa and Hokkaido.
EGL Tours executive director Steve Huen said the company had cancelled all Japan tours departing before March 20, which involves some 47 groups and about 1,200 travellers. All tours until the end of the month to Sendai and other disaster-affected areas have been cancelled.
Worldwide Package Travel Service has received zero bookings for Japan tours since the tsunami struck. The company has decided to cancel all tours to north-east Japan and departing this month to Tokyo. General manager Frankie Wong said: “March is not usually a busy period, but we have to be prepared for the worst during the four-day Easter holiday next month if the nuclear issue remains.”
Japanese inbound travel specialist Towa Tours’ director and general manager, Gianna Wong, is expecting at least a 40 per cent drop in inbound traffic. “If the nuclear crisis can be contained, the impact will last for three months. Otherwise it’ll be at least six months.”