Chinese travel mission looks to boost tourism

Kyodo

A 100-member travel mission from China is coming to Japan this week as the Tourism Agency tries to rebuild tourist numbers following the March 11 disaster and ongoing nuclear crisis.

The delegation, including Shao Qiwei, head of China’s tourism administration, and executives of Chinese travel agencies and airlines will arrive Monday and stay until Saturday, officials said Friday.

The group will attend a tourism gathering in Tokyo to discuss ways to expand travel between Japan and China.

The event will be attended by 200 to 300 officials from Japanese travel agencies and local governments across Japan pitching tourist attractions.

Sending the delegation was brought up by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in his talks last Sunday with Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the sidelines of a trilateral summit that also involved South Korean President Lee Myung Bak.

The Chinese will visit Yokohama on Wednesday.

In April, the first full month following the Tohoku quake and tsunami, Japan saw its sharpest fall on record in foreign travelers, with people coming from China dropping by 50 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday that Chinese tourists will be able to visit Okinawa on multiple-entry visas starting July 1. The move is aimed at encouraging wealthy Chinese to visit and boost the prefecture’s economy.