DESPITE the plunge in travel between China and Japan as a result of an ongoing diplomatic spat, Japan’s Tokyu Group is confident that Chinese tourists will return to Japan and continues to woo the market.
Yang Ziming, deputy general manager sales planning division from Tokyu Business Consulting Shanghai, said there had been a “definite decrease” in bookings from China since the start of the diplomatic disagreement, although he was unable to provide exact figures to illustrate the impact.
“We want to bring the Chinese back so we have been participating in many travel shows and events in China to establish our brand and build relationships with local travel consultants,” Yang explained.
He said that China was one of the group’s focus markets because of its “lucrative potential”.
Chinese travellers are among the highest spenders in Japan, blowing an estimated 196.4 billion yen (US$2.4 billion) in 2011, or almost a quarter of total expenditure by foreign visitors. This places the Chinese as the largest spenders by country, according to data from the Japan Tourism Agency.
Tokyu Business Consulting Shanghai – a subsidiary of the Tokyu Group – was set up in Shanghai last August to solicit Chinese travellers to Japan. The group manages 54 hotels in Japan under Tokyu Hotels.
Said Yang: “We believe there will always be strong demand from the Chinese to visit Japan. Timing-wise, (Chinese demand for Japan) may not be good now, but we are looking forward to the future when the relationship between China and Japan improves.”