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Japan tourism stages strong recovery
Mimi Hudoyo, reporting from Visit Japan Travel Mart, Yokohama, November 21, 2012

JAPAN'S tourism is well on the recovery path following last year's tsunami, with the number of arrivals from January to October 2012 estimated to reach seven million, just four per cent lower than the 7.4 million arrivals recorded during the same period in 2010, according to Japan National Tourist Organization data.


Arrivals to Japan declined sharply from 8.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2011 as a result of the natural disaster.


To ensure a speedy recovery, JTA is putting several strategies in place. Apart from boosting arrivals from South-east Asia (TTG Asia e-Daily, November 20, 2012), the agency is also moving to secure its two biggest markets, China and South Korea.


Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) commissioner, Norifumi Idee, said: “The number of arrivals from (South) Korea plummeted after the earthquake. We have entered into an agreement with the (South) Korean government to foster people-to-people exchange by promoting non-metropolitan destinations (in Japan).


“While total arrivals from China reached a record high before September, the (month-on-month) figure was down in the last couple of months due to the political issue. However, I’m optimistic this will not last long and we will continue to do our promotions in the country,” he added.


Arrivals from Hong Kong and Taiwan are rising amid strong repeat visitations to Japan, while Idee expects a growing FIT segment from Taiwan next year too.


Meanwhile, Indonesian outbound travel consultants have observed the rapid recovery of Japan as a destination. Japan is now the second biggest market for Panorama Tours Indonesia, remarked vice president operations leisure travel management, Rery Sankyo.


Singapore, on the other hand, has not bounced back as well. JNTO’s marketing & promotion department’s executive director, Mamoru Kobori, said: “Singaporeans have a lot of destinations to choose from, so I’m confident that Singaporean arrivals will be up again once they are confident that Japan is safe to travel to.”


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