Travel firms get boost with eclipse packages


Travel companies are doing brisk business cashing in on the upcoming annular solar eclipse by offering up package tours, cruises and even chartered flights.

The eclipse next Monday will be Japan’s first in 25 years and the first one viewable from the Tokyo metropolitan area in 173 years.

Major travel agency JTB Corp. said special package tours to witness the celestial event in the Hakone resort area southwest of Tokyo sold out within about a month after going on sale at the end of March.

The company also made 150 seats available on a cruise around Tokyo Bay the same day. All of the tour spaces sold out within a week, and JTB had to add another 500 to meet strong demand for those hoping to witness the event at sea, it said.

At Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., tours in Tokyo offered in mid-February are nearly sold out for May 20 to 21, it said. Many of the reservations came from couples and mother-daughter pairs, indicating people want to witness the event with relatives, a Kinki spokesperson said.

Reservations for chartered flights are also proving popular because the eclipse will be viewable without interference from clouds or inclement weather.

Japan Airlines said it started selling tickets in March for an observation flight from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda and saw them sell out almost immediately despite the high price — around ¥70,000 per ticket.