Chinese Group Tours to Japan Resume After Ban is Lifted

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chinese tourists in a group tour pose for photos before departing for Japan at the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China, on Friday.

GUANGZHO, China — Chinese tourists heading for Japan formed waiting lines at airports in China on Friday, as a ban on group travel came to an end.

Travel agencies in China were flooded with reservations for group trips to Japan as demand among Chinese people begins to recover.

At the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, a group of 26 tourists who were en-route to Osaka, Kyoto and other areas, waited for their flight departure time. One of them, a 21-year-old third-year university student, said with a smile, “I had waited for three years [to travel] because of the novel coronavirus crisis. I want to see beautiful scenery which can not be seen in China.”

An international travel agency firm in Guangzhou, which organized the trip, said that it received about 500 applications to join the tour group since Aug. 10, when the Chinese government announced an end to the group travel ban. An Official of the company said that Tokyo and Osaka are popular destinations among Chinese who want to travel to Japan.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization and other sources, there were 9.59 million Chinese tourists who visited Japan in 2019, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors from China made up about 30% of all foreign tourists, the highest proportion of visitors to Japan.