Sat, May 14, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Japan back on the tourism map as Taipei expo opens

Staff Writer, with CNA

Employees of Star Travel show brochures of group holiday trips to Japan to a group of people at the Taipei Tourism Expo at the Taipei World Trade Center yesterday.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The public has regained an interest in traveling to Japan after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March devastated Japanese tourism, travel agencies said yesterday.

On the first day of the Taipei Tourism Expo, one of the biggest travel fairs in the nation, travel agents found good momentum for tours of Japan thanks to promotional strategies that pitched more products at better prices.

Jun Mukai, sales representative at Japan Update Navigator Corp (向日遊顧問公司), said his company was addressing concerns about radioactive fallout from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant by promoting trips to the countryside, away from the danger zone, such as the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

“We’ve had a very positive response,” he said.

Hsu Kuang-fu, manager of Star Travel Corp (燦星旅遊), said he had sold 60 Tokyo travel packages in the first two hours of the expo.

He said the packages, each costing about NT$14,000 (US$492), are at a 30 percent discount to the regular-season price for tours of Japan.

“As long as we start getting people back to Tokyo, we get people back to Japan,” he said.

Hsu also sees Japan’s tourism recovery as a good omen for Taiwan’s travel industry later this year.

“People are getting tired of the series of wars and natural disasters that have kept them from traveling,” Hsu said, highlighting North Korea’s bombardment of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island last November, snowstorms in Europe throughout the winter and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

“I’d say we are about to see a stop-loss point and soon we will see Taiwan’s travel industry thriving,” he said.

The four-day Taipei Tourism Expo began yesterday morning at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall I with Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) giving a speech at the opening ceremony.

Wu said Taiwan should increase its target for visitors to the nation to 7 million, compared with the original aim of 6.5 million, and that he hoped to see the number increase to 10 million in two or three years.

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