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The number of travelers participating in overseas package tours at five major travel agencies in March recovered to 83.6 percent of the level achieved the same month last year, an industry body said Tuesday.

However, the number of tourists bound for the United States mainland, which fell drastically after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, remain at 45.7 percent of last year’s level, the Japan Association of Travel Agents said.

The five travel agencies — JTB Corp., Kinki Nippon Tourist Co., Nippon Nippon Travel Agency, JALPAK Co. and Hankyu Express International Co. — found that package tours to the Oceania region rose 109 percent on the year, while those for China rose 104.9 percent, the association said.

Part of the gains was apparently caused by the upcoming opening of a second runway at Narita airport in Chiba Prefecture, on Thursday. Reservations for the two destinations for April, May and June are about 10 percent higher than they were last year at this point, the officials said.

The Japanese tourism industry — package tours in particular — was badly hit by the attacks. The worst month was November, when the number of travelers plunged to 46.4 percent of the figure posted for the same month the previous year.

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