Nations around the world are bracing themselves for a large slump in tourism arrivals from Japan, following last week’s devastating earthquake.
Officials from the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and Tourism Australia cited serious concerns that falling numbers from Japan could further dent the region, which is already struggling to recover from the devastating floods.
The number of Japanese tourists visiting Queensland grew 12 percent in 2010, to 398,000, making Japan the fifth-largest international market to Australia, accounting for about six per cent of the country’s tourists, according to The Australian. Tourism between Japan and Queensland received a boost last year when Jetstar began flying between Osaka and Cairns.
Meanwhile in Taiwan, tourism officials said the country expected to lose millions of dollars in revenue as Japanese tourists cancelled visits to the island.
Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau estimated a 20 percent decline in Japanese visitors over the coming three months, or more than US$33 million in lost income, said spokesman Wayne Liu.
Last year 1 million Japanese visited Taiwan, making Japan the second largest source of tourists after China.
About half the Taiwanese tour groups due to visit Japan have cancelled scheduled trips after the Foreign Ministry issued “red” travel alerts against many parts in the country due to radiation concerns.
Friday’s 9.0-magnitude quake, the country’s biggest, sparked a 10-metre tsunami estimated to have killed 10,000 people, while also rocking a nuclear plant northeast of Tokyo where crews are struggling to avert a meltdown.
In Hawaii officials estimate that the tsunami generated from the Japan earthquake caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to ports, roads and homes in the state, and they expect tourism revenue to decline as Japanese travellers cancel holiday plans.
The tsunami swept through the islands before dawn on Friday, and though the waves were much smaller than those that hit Japan’s northeastern coast, they flooded some coastal businesses and hotel lobbies, sank boats and tore apart piers and infrastructure.
Even India is feeling the pinch. Indian travel firms have started receiving cancellations from Japanese tourists and are bracing up for a small dip in business as Japan is one of the top 10 source markets for inbound tourism in the country.