If the party says you don’t go, you don’t go.
The heat is on. And it was all too predictable. We saw them doing it to the Philippines a while ago. Now they’re wielding the economic stick against Japan too. China hopes to hit Japan where it hurts the most by getting travel agents to collectively stop sending tourists there. This may cause Chinese visitor numbers to Japan fall by as much as 20 percent, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. Bloomberg reports:
“We are very worried,” Mamoru Kobori, the tourism agency’s overseas marketing manager, said by phone yesterday. “There will surely be an impact on the numbers and the only question is how much — 10 percent or 20 percent is possible.”
A slump in demand from its second-biggest overseas market would add to the difficulties facing Japan’s tourism industry as it tries to recovery from last year’s tsunami and nuclear-power crisis. Ctrip.com International Ltd. (CTRP), owner of China’s biggest travel portal, has halted Japan promotions ahead of a weeklong Chinese holiday starting Oct. 1, while travel agents are canceling trips.
“We want to express our anger toward the Japanese government, even though we have to sacrifice some commercial interest,” said Stephanie Liu, marketing manager at China Comfort Travel Group Co.’s Sichuan province unit. “Almost all of our customers understand the situation.”
China Comfort, which operates more than 5,000 travel agents nationwide, has canceled all of its Japan trips and is refunding customers.
Meanwhile in Shanghai, budget carrier Spring Airlines is expecting a 30 percent decline in passenger numbers on China-Japan routes, according to Shanghai Daily. Also:
“We have suspended the promotion of Japan tour packages and will gradually stop receiving tourists to Japan after the National Day holiday,” Liu Xin, deputy general manager of the Shanghai China CYTS Outbound Travel Service Co Ltd, said.
The Shanghai branch of the China Travel International Ltd said it was advising people who wanted to visit Japan to change their plans.
The Shanghai branch of the China International Travel Service is stopping tours to Japan from early next month.
Xiao Qianhui, general manager of the Shanghai Spring International Travel Service (Group) Co Ltd, said the agency had received several requests to cancel trips to Japan. So far, it had not made any adjustments to its tours.
Shanghai Jinjiang Travel said it received about 20 requests about canceling trips to Japan from people who had already paid for package tours.
Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun on the cancellations on the political front:
Meanwhile, the Central Party School, which trains top Communist Party officials, notified the Japanese side it would postpone an exchange visit by 50 medium-rank executives from Japanese government offices, municipalities and businesses.
A delegation from China’s Shandong province visited the city of Yamaguchi on Sept. 11 to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of friendly ties between Yamaguchi Prefecture and the Chinese province. But the group shrank in size from a planned 15 delegates to six, and its leader, Shandong Vice Governor Xia Geng, was among those who stayed away.
Yamaguchi Prefecture reported Xia’s cancellation as the result of a sudden official duty.
Shinji Tanimura, a Japanese singer who is well known in China, had planned a concert Sept. 25 at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. It was to have commemorated 40 years since the normalizing of relations between Tokyo and Beijing.