Travel agencies in Hong Kong are said to have recorded a significant increase in demand for Japan tour packages following the yen’s recent slide against the US dollar.
The yen was hovering near a seven-year low against the greenback on Wednesday, with the currency drawing fresh bearish bets after the Bank of Japan last week unveiled additional monetary easing.
As the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US currency, it has meant that Japan is now also a cheaper destination for Hongkongers.
Ma Sai-man, deputy president of Wing On Travel, was quoted as saying in a MetroHK report Wednesday that Japan has become the most popular destination in Asia for Hongkongers, with the currency factor playing a significant part.
Ma expects about 10 percent increase in Hong Kong travelers to Japan in the coming months. While demand is increasing, travel agencies are unlikely to offer any discounts on the tour package fees.
The report also said that Hong Kong citizens have been rushing to banks and money changers to buy the Japanese currency to meet their needs during planned tours. The rush has led to “out of stock” signs for yen at many money exchange agents in the city, it said.
“You should reserve the yen quota at least two days before the desired date,” a bank employee is said to have told a local traveler who intends to fly to Japan on Friday.
Meanwhile, Simon Wong, chairman of the Chamber of Food & Beverage Industry of Hong Kong, said imports of Japanese food to Hong Kong have recovered to the level that prevailed before Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The yen plunge may boost local consumers’ appetite for Japanese food, Wong added.
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