Tourists return to Japan but strong yen remains deterrent factor

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Hong Kong’s tourists are slowly reviving their interest in Japan after the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis scared them off, but the strong yen remains a deterrent factor, an official of the semi-governmental tourism promotion agency said on Wednesday.

Ken Ozaki, director of the Japan National Tourism Organisation’s Hong Kong office, told reporters at a promotional event that the number of people from Hong Kong who visited Japan in June has improved since the 80 percent plunge in April but is still 36 percent lower than what it was last year.

“The strong yen has affected tourists’ spending,” Ozaki said, adding that travel agencies in Hong Kong have told him the surge in the yen is creating higher tour prices.