JAPAN has extended its multiple-entry visa facility for Chinese FITs to three prefectures in the Tohoku region – Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi – effective July 2, 2012.
The multiple-entry visa facility, first introduced in Okinawa last July (TTG Asia e-Daily, September 26, 2011), targets upper middle-class Chinese FITs with annual incomes of at least 3.1 million Japanese yen (US$39,000).
Following a minimum one-night stay in one of the three prefectures on their first visit, Chinese tourists can subsequently travel to other Japanese destinations for stays of up to 90 consecutive days over the next three years, although travel arrangements must be made through appointed travel agencies.
Lily Mou, the Japan division manager of Shanghai Spring International Travel Services, which has been designated to handle the multiple-entry visa applications in Shanghai, said: “As the visa is free-of-charge, this will definitely stimulate traffic to Japan. However, it is still too soon to estimate the growth, as the new ruling just took off.”
“Currently, we are refining some five-day, four-night FIT packages covering Tokyo and Fukushima – destinations that China Eastern flies to,” she added.
In 1Q2012, Japan welcomed 501,400 Chinese visitors, a 166-per cent increase over the same period last year.
– Read more in TTG Asia, July 13, 2012