Chinese tourists allowed to travel to Japan without tour guides
Wednesday 08th July, 10:19 AM JST
The first group of Chinese tourists bearing a new type of entry visa to Japan left Beijing’s international airport Wednesday for Tokyo, ending a practice that require Chinese nationals traveling to Japan to be in a group attended by tour guides. The tourism and airline industries hope that the so-called ‘‘individual tourist visa’’ will significantly increase the number of Chinese visitors to Japan by giving them choices to travel the country.
Sixteen Chinese tourists left Beijing Capital International Airport aboard a Japan Airlines flight, while 18 others were on an All Nippon Airways flight. ‘‘Because Japan has cultural attractions such as animation, food and nature, we would like Chinese people—especially the youth—to travel freely to Japan and deepen their understanding of the country,’’ said Keizaburo Yokota, executive officer for Japan Airlines’ Beijing office. ‘‘So far, the Chinese have traveled to Japan mainly on a week-long or 10-day tour, but the new measure allows them to visit Tokyo exclusively for shopping, for example.’’
Japan’s Foreign Ministry expects the total number of Chinese visitors to Japan to increase by 250,000 to 1.25 million in 2010 from 2008, generating an estimated 40 billion yen, according to a ministry official.