Tourism Chiefs Seek To Double Numbers
Japan, China and South Korea agree to 26 million visitors by 2015
In a joint statement made by the tourism chiefs of Japan, China, and South Korea from their trilateral meeting in China on Sunday, it was agreed that they would try to double 2009 "intervisitation" figures.
This means they want to welcome 26 million people to their 3 countries by 2015. A total of 13.5 million people traveled among the three East Asian countries in 2009. And the three countries' earlier goal of 17 million "intervisitations" in 2010 is expected to be achieved.
"It is significant that the three countries set a target and confirmed what must be done to that end," Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Minister Seiji Maehara said after signing the statement.
The three ministers also decided to share information related to tourism, including that pertaining to major natural disasters and infectious diseases, the statement said.
They also agreed at the meeting, the fifth trilateral tourism ministerial meeting, to cooperate on developing and utilizing such areas as health care, sports, movies, animation, and food and beverages to develop tourism.
Minister Maehara; Chinese National Tourism Administration Chairman Shao Qiwei; and South Korean Culture, Sports, and Tourism Minister Yu In Chon visited the Hangzhou area in Zhejiang Province for a series of related meetings that ran from Saturday to Monday.
On Saturday, China's Shao hinted that Japanese travel agencies might be allowed to sell services to Chinese tourists headed for Japan.
"We are now preparing to revise (relevant) laws," Shao was quoted by Japanese officials as saying to Maehara.
Maehara later said that any deal might be restricted to frequent visitors.
"Japanese companies would be able to offer a wide range of travel plans to Chinese who travel to Japan repeatedly, since they have explored the tourism routes most extensively," he said.
Later, Maehara held a meeting with South Korea's Yu. Maehara proposed that the two countries make efforts to increase visitors both ways by taking advantage of a plan by Japanese and South Korean filmmakers to jointly film movies next year.
Maehara, who flew to Shanghai from Tokyo's Haneda airport earlier in the day, inspected Chinese bullet train technology firsthand by riding a train with a top speed of over 300 kph from Shanghai to Suzhou, Jiangsu Province.