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Taiwan tourists change Japan travel plans

Japan-bound Taiwanese opt for Southeast Asia instead

Mar 17, 2011

Taipei, Taiwan - As Japan is coping with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, thousands of Japan-bound Taiwanese change their travel plans, opting to visit Southeast Asia instead.

An estimated 50,000 people who had signed up for group tours to visit Japan during the cherry blossom season have canceled their trips, said Yao Ta-kuan, chairman of the Travel Agent Association of R.O.C. Taiwan.

In addition, some 100,000 individual travelers have done the same, he added.

Lion Travel Service Co., one of Taiwan's largest travel agencies, said 50 percent of its clients who had booked trips to Japan have now decided to travel to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore instead.

Another 20 percent have chosen South Korea, and 10 percent will to go to China, the agency added.

Castle Travel Service Co., another local travel agency, said it believed that many of the one million Taiwanese who travel to Japan regularly every year would still go abroad.

"According to our conservative estimate, about one third of these people will go to Southeast Asia," the agency's General Manager Benny Wu said.

To cash in on what they see as a possible increase in the number of tourists to Southeast Asia, some travel agencies are negotiating with airline companies to put on charter flights to Bangkok, Phuket Island and Kuala Lumpur, according to Wu.

Japan-bound Taiwanese opt for Southeast Asia instead
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Source: CNA

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