Chinese tourists are expected to troop to Tokyo this weekend in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Also known as the Spring Festival in other Asian countries, this coming Friday is the first day of the New Year celebrations and with a weeklong public holiday following that, throngs of Chinese travelers are expected to take advantage of the celebration.
With the yen weakening against the yuan, more Chinese are expected to shop when they travel to Japan for items that would usually cost them higher taxes in their own country. China’s anti-corruption campaign that bans legislators and bureaucrats from making leisure travels, which they declare as official business trips, will force legislators to look for less expensive travel destinations compared to US and Europe. The lenient requirements in getting a visa also play a factor in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Japan. The Japanese embassy in Shanghai issued 14,400 tourists visas last month, 260% more than those that they awarded in December.
Though Chinese visitors in Japan have decreased in the third quarter of 2013 due to increase in political tensions, they still comprised 20% of foreigners who visited the country. Recent months have seen a steady increase in Chinese applying for Japanese visas and Chinese budget airline Juneyao Airlines banked on this trend, offering a direct flight from Shanghai to Naha in Okinawa. Juneyao is already looking at adding another route to Fukuoka and Osaka from Shanghai. Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines is looking at adding a route from Shanghai to Kumamoto in Kyushu.
[via Nikkei Asian Review]