Five months after the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, the Japanese tourism industry in Far North Queensland has been bouncing back.
Japanese director of Tourism Tropical North Queensland Harry Nihori said since the twin disasters took place in Japan in March this year, Cairns — one of the top Japanese tourist destinations in Australia — had been affected from the period of March to June.
The Quarterly Market Update in August from Tourism Australia indicated despite no more than one per cent of increase in the overall number of visitors in Australia compared to last year, the impact of the earthquake in Japan saw the greatest decline in Japanese arrivals— 18 per cent— in the last eight months.
“After the earthquake and the tsunami the number of Japanese visitors had decreased because of impacts of the disaster; however, now the number of the Japanese visitors from Japan to Australia is recovering,” Mr Nihori said.
A short term Japanese visitor Yuka [SURNAME], planning to spend ten months in Australia, was holidaying in Cairns in June this year.
“There were lots of Japanese conversations there,” she said.
Now as low-cost domestic airline Jetstar Japan sets to operate at the end of next year, Qantas Group chief executive Alan Joyce said on Cairns.com.au that the Japanese tourism industry in Cairns had been recovering well and expected the number to increase through Jetstar Japan.
“It’s going to be providing an extensive domestic and international network in Japan. Jetstar from Australia, that flies into Tokyo and Osaka, will have these amazing connections on to this network (flights to Cairns),” said Mr Joyce.
The Japanese consul from The Consulate of Japan in Cairns, Tsuguyoshi Hada, said before 2008, there were 200,00- to 250,000 Japanese tourists every year in Cairns.
“There was a reduction of the flight at that time.” Mr Hada said.
He said after 2008 the number of Japanese tourists had remained around 100,000.
There were around 110,000 Japanese tourists in Cairns last year and the number is not expected to rise this year due to the effects of the disasters in Japan on its arrivals in the first half of this year.