Various surveys show that Japan is constantly the top holiday destination for Hong Kong travelers. Among the 10 most popular cities Hong Kong people plan to visit during the New Year Holiday, four of them are in Japan, namely Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka and Kyoto, according to Airbnb.
Last year, 2.23 million Hong Kong tourists visited Japan, up 21.3 percent from the year before, Japan Tourism Agency said.
That means roughly around 30 percent of Hong Kong’s 7.34 million population have visited Japan once last year, and some have visited Japan multiple times a year.
Food, sights and culture are some of the main attractions for Hong Kong travelers.
In fact, Japan has quickly emerged as a top destination for mainland Chinese visitors too.
In the first 10 months of this year, 7.16 million Chinese visited Japan, up 15.1 percent from the year before. China has already replaced South Korea as the top source of visitors to Japan.
Meanwhile, China-Japan relationship has quickly improved amid the escalating US-China trade war. Chinese President Xi Jinping in October struck a remarkably upbeat note about the relationship, saying things are back on the right track.
Earlier this month, Japan announced a set of easier rules for Chinese visitors. College graduates from 1,243 Chinese universities will no longer be required to provide bank statement from January 1, 2019. Also, mainland Chinese residents who have visited Japan on individual tourism visa more than twice over last three years can apply for five-year multiple entry visa next year.
The influx of Chinese tourists to Japan has drawn Chinese investors to the country as well. Celebrity venture capitalist Manzi Xue announced earlier this year that he had bought all 11 machiyas, or traditional Japanese wooden houses, on a street in Kyoto to develop a rental lodging business and rename the street.
In another initiative, Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group has acquired Japanese resort operator Hoshino Resorts Tomamu.
Japanese may have mixed feelings towards Chinese acquisitions. On one hand, they badly need Chinese capital and tourists to shore up the economy. But at the same time, they might be worried about the impact on Japanese traditional culture and valuable resources falling into foreign hands.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 28
Translation by Julie Zhu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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