SHANGHAI (Nikkei)–On Wednesday morning, 66 Chinese people departed here and three other cities on flights bound for Japan, making them the first to take advantage of the government’s decision to issue tourist visas to wealthy Chinese individuals.
Ten of the travelers left from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, headed for Narita International Airport and Kansai International Airport. Before these departures, the Japan National Tourism Organization presented welcome bouquets to the tourists at an airport ceremony.
A 16-year-old high school student traveling to Tokyo with her mother and grandmother said she wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland and shop at department stores.
Other tourists left from the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
Japan began accepting applications for individual tourist visas from Chinese nationals at its embassy and consulates here on July 1. In a bid to head off illegal overstays, the government’s guidelines hold that applicants should have an annual income of at least 250,000 yuan (3.5 million yen).
The expected influx of wealthy Chinese tourists could give the Japanese tourism industry a much-needed boost.
(The Nikkei July 8 evening edition)