Kintetsu tour agent tieup eyed

JIJI, Kyodo

Two travel agencies affiliated with the railway Kintetsu Corp. could integrate their operations to form the nation’s second-largest travel firm, company officials said.

The envisaged integration of Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., the third-largest operator last year in terms of value of contracts, and Club Tourism International Inc. could generate combined revenue of ¥500 billion, second only to industry leader JTB Corp., the officials said Tuesday.

Kinki Nippon Tourist has seen sales fall in recent years, in large part due to the economic slump sparked by the 2008 global financial meltdown and the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan.

Meanwhile, Club Tourism International, which chiefly sells tours through catalogues targeting middle-aged and elderly travelers, has been growing recently thanks to brisk demand for members-only publications.

Turnover in the domestic travel industry has fallen by more than 30 percent since its peak in 1996, reflecting Japan’s sluggish economy and the diversifying interests of the population.