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MOSCOW, September 19 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian tourists still fear having holidays in Japan after the accident at Fukushima-1, which happened in March of the current year, and demand for tourist trips to Japan is close to nil, Russia’s association of tourist operators /ATOR/ said on Monday.
“The accident at Japan’s Fukushima lowered dramatically attractiveness of the country for tourists,” the association said adding that “Russian tourists are still afraid of high radiation, though weekly data, which the operators receive from their partners in Japan, do not any changes from the normal level.”
“Our hopes that demand for tours to Japan will start growing in autumn are not coming true as yet,” the source said. Now, mostly businessmen and students travel to Japan. However, Japan’s tourist business hopes that participation of Japan’s seven tourist companies in the Leisure-2011 exhibition in Moscow on September 21-23 will help them restore the tourist flow.
The current situation made tourist operators stop using fixed blocks of seats at flights, but they still keep blocks of hotel rooms. Japan’s tourist operators say that due to the domestic market, Japanese hotels do not experience lack of guests. At the same time, they support Russian operators and let them keep quotas without penalties.
Japan’s major tourist centres – Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka – were not affected by the accident and continue to welcome tourists actively, coordinator for Russia and the CIS at the Japanese national tourist organisation Valentin Shestak said.
The national tourist organisation of Japan reports about 3.4 million tourists in January-July, or by 33 percent fewer against a similar period of 2010.
Rostourism’s statistical data says that in 2010 over 26,000 Russians went on holidays to Japan, while in 2009 – slightly over 23,000.
After the destroying earthquake in Japan, most countries applied limitations for trips to Tokyo and the regions. The natural calamities claimed over 14,000 lives and caused the disastrous accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.
Already in April, Rostourism recommended to tourist operators to resume selling trips to Tokyo.