Chinese tourists increasingly traveling independently to Japan

posted on January 23, 2016

Chinese tour groups can often be seen following guides clutching red flags in Japanese shopping districts, but organized tours may be losing their allure as travelers set out to go it alone.

Chinese tourists are increasingly spurning group travel to stop and smell the roses, so to speak, rather than following the beaten path.

In January, the government relaxed requirements for high-income Chinese tourists by extending the validity of multiple-entry visas to five years from three years.

Bakugai - a phrase that literally means “explosive shopping” - is commonly used in Japan to describe the behavior of Chinese tourists in the nation’s department stores.

The rise in such visitors and the increasing appetite for individualized excursions are also transforming the business pattern of Tan’s travel agency.

Last year, the number of foreign travelers to Japan, buoyed by Chinese visitors, hit a record 19.73 million, just shy of the 20 million the Japanese government aims to achieve by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.

The Japan National Tourism Organization says Chinese visitors doubled to 4.99 million. They comprised about a quarter of all tourists.

source by japantimes
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