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Chinese Tourists Flocking to Japan in Record Numbers
 Since Visa Restrictions Relaxed

The Yomiuri ShimbunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 26, 2010 --A spike in the number of Chinese tourists due to relaxed visa restrictions helped push up the total number of travelers to Japan in July by 39 percent from the same month last year to a record 880,000, according to an industry body.

The number of visitors to Japan has increased on a year-on-year basis for nine consecutive months, and 5.08 million people traveled to Japan between January and July, according to a Japan National Tourism Organization report.

About 240,000 South Koreans visited in July, up 38.7 percent, followed by 170,000 from China--2.4 times more than the same month last year. A record number of visitors came from China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

The increases seem to reflect recovering economies in these countries, according to observers.

The organization has been compiling tourism statistics since 1964.

As well as flocking to Japan in record numbers, Chinese tourists tend to spend a lot while they are here, according to a Japan Tourist Agency survey of 3,787 visitors released Wednesday.

The survey showed travelers to Japan spend an average of 104,263 yen while they tour the country. However, Chinese were more willing to open their wallets and spent 136,870 yen on average, eclipsing Americans (121,767 yen) and South Koreans (77,111 yen).

This first such survey by the agency estimated that Chinese spent 50.3 billion yen and South Koreans spent 44 billion yen on shopping and dining from April to June.

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Yomiuri Shimbun

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