Travel agencies are slugging it out in what is being described as a “20,000 yen war,” in which their two-day package tours should cost no more than 20,000 yen, even if the destinations are far from Tokyo.

By offering such bargains, the agencies would like to expand consumer demand for travel amid the recession, according to Japan Travel Bureau officials.

The 19,800 yen “gatsunto” package tours marketed by Nippon Travel, a major travel agency, in early December have been proving to be popular. The price covers airline tickets and hotel fees.

The gatsunto packages provide customers with five destinations from Tokyo’s Haneda airport — Osaka, Fukuoka, Okinawa, Sapporo and Hakodate, Hokkaido.

For Okinawa, a regular round-trip air ticket from Tokyo to Okinawa costs 62,100 yen, but the package tour price offered in the series is kept at 19,800 yen. Nippon Travel has made it possible to radically cut the price by reducing wholesale tickets from an airline to the utmost limit with the use of early morning and late night flights.

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