Japanese tourism in China took a sharp fall in September with the decline likely to persist as relations between the two countries remain strained, the Japan Association of Travel Agents said.
Japanese tourists who joined package tours to China declined 44.5% in September
The association on October 24 said the number of Japanese tourists who joined package tours to China declined 44.5 percent in September compared with a year earlier. The findings are based on figures provided by 7 leading travel agencies, including JTB Corp. and Kinki Nippon Tourist Co.
The recent flare-up in the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, in the East China Sea, has been taking a toll on Japanese tourism in China, the association said, and the fallout looks likely to continue in coming months.
The figures showed Japanese group tour bookings to China in October down 72.5 percent on LY, November bookings down 75.8 percent, and December bookings down 71.5 percent.
Group tours to Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Macao are seeing a similar decline, and the association also found that fewer Japanese are traveling to South Korea, possibly due to the recent diplomatic standoff between the two nations over the Takeshima islets, in the Sea of Japan.
According to the association, there were 16.1 percent fewer Japanese visitors to South Korea on package tours in September compared with last year.
Reservations for October fell by nearly 50 percent, and they fell by more than 60 percent for November and December.
Instead, other destinations such as the United States, Canada, Guam, Saipan, and Thailand are seeing a significant increase in the number of vacationers booking travel packages in December, according to the association.
The number of package tours booked to the United States or Canada doubled, while those for Guam or Saipan increased by about 3.5 times.
There were 1.8 times more Japanese reserving group tours to Thailand year on year.