New York City is expected to lure a larger number of travelers from Japan this year, despite the prolonged recession, due to the recent decline in the Big Apple’s crime rate, a sales manager at a Japanese-owned hotel in New York said.

Lucile Noel, at the Kitano New York, also figured the focus will be on Japanese businesspeople who seek high-quality services at limited costs due to the economic weakness at home. “The number of travelers has definitely increased a lot in the past, probably in the last 10 years,” Noel reckoned in a recent interview, adding that the trend of Japanese travelers will also be upward.

The Japanese travel agency JTB Corp. said in a survey released in January that it expects a record 18.39 million Japanese to travel abroad this year, up 4.1 percent from the previous year. They tend to avoid higher prices at home and instead prefer to enjoy leisure at reasonable prices abroad, it said.

Kitano, wholly owned by Kitano Construction Corp., a midsize constructor based in Nagano Prefecture, is the only major Japanese-owned hotel in New York City, according to Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, which has a personnel tieup with Kitano Construction.

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