More Southeast Asia tourists engaging in shopping

JIJI

An increasing number of middle-class tourists from Southeast Asian nations are shopping in Japan, mainly at department stores and electronics shops, on the back of growing income levels.

Also behind the growing shopping spree among tourists from the region is the strengthening of their countries’ currencies against the yen.

At Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.’s flagship Isetan store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, the value of duty-free shopping by travelers from Thailand in June jumped some 2.8-fold from a year before. Clothes, sundry items and bags are selling well, including high-end items, according to officials of the company.

A spokesman at major electronics chain Bic Camera Inc. said that Japanese-made products such as rice cookers, digital cameras and electric shavers are popular among tourists from Southeast Asia.

The number of tourists from the region, including Thailand, has been increasing sharply since the beginning of this year, the spokesman said.