Japan most popular for Chinese tourists
Japan is proving to be the most popular overseas destination for Chinese mainland tourists during the ongoing sevenday National Day holiday (from Oct. 1 to 7), according to a report from Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agency.
Based on the company’s booking information, Japan will top the overseas holiday destination list ahead of the traditional hot spots South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macao, Taiwan and the United States.
Compared to the holiday period last year, the number of mainland visitors to Japan will double, according to a statement released by the China National Tourism Administration on Sunday.
The influx of mainland Chinese visitors has been a welcome shot in the arm for Japan’s economy, with hotels in Tokyo seeing their occupancy rate increase to 93.5 percent, bouncing back to the level before the economic depression, according to a report from the Tourism Industry Association of Japan cited by the website China.org.cn on Monday.
In July, the Japan Tourism Agency estimated that there were 9.14 million foreign visitors to Japan in the first half of the year, up 46 percent from the same period last year and raising expectations for a record number of visitors in 2015.
It added the number of visitors from the Chinese mainland was around 2.18 million in the first six months, double the same period last year.
Hong Kong was the big loser during this year’s holiday, according to the statement from China’s tourism authority. There were 1.27 million visitor arrivals to the special administrative region during the first three days of the holiday, down 5.18 percent year-on-year, of which 430,000 were from the mainland.
On the other hand, South Korea has recovered from the heavy hit its tourism industry took because of the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome thanks to the introduction of preferential visa policies and tourist discounts.
The report from Ctrip suggests the United States is also attracting growing attention from Chinese tourists thanks to the introduction of more convenient visa policies for visitors from the mainland.
In 2014, there were over 2.18 million visitors from the mainland to the U.S., a year-onyear increase of 20 percent. The upward momentum continued in the first half of this year with a 16 percent increase year-onyear, according to a report from Tuniu, a Chinese online tourism service provider.
The three cities that mainland Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited during his state visit to the U.S. — New York, Washington and Seattle — were the top choices for mainland tourists, said Tuniu based on its tourism services searching and booking information.
“The improved tourism environment including the smoother visa process and more experiences in outbound tourism have encouraged more Chinese tourists to go overseas by presenting them with more choices instead of just the traditional nearby hot spots such as Hong Kong, Thailand, and South Korea,” said Xu Xiaolei, the spokesman for China Youth Travel Service.
The domestic tourism market is also expected to witness a holiday boom, with the number of holiday visits predicted to reach 750 million, according to a Xinhua News Agency report on Monday that cited data released by the Transport Ministry.
“Trips are concentrated on popular tourism places such as Beijing, and Guangdong, Sichuan and Anhui provinces,” said Liu Pengfei, the ministry spokesman.
Over 640 million trips are expected to be made by rail, up 1.6 percent on the same period of last year.
The number of travelers using the railways on the peak days — the first and last two days of the holiday — are expected to exceed the peaks during this year’s Spring Festival holiday, the China Railway Corporation said.
During the 40- days of the Spring Festival holiday rush, around 7.3 million people traveled by train each day. However, the daily figure transportation so far during the National Day holiday has been 13 million. Top destinations: 1. Tokyo 2. South Korea 3. Thailand 4. Hong Kong 5. Macao 6. Taiwan 7. United States