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Japan Tours Getting Hot Among Chinese
More Chinese people are planning a tour to Japan due to the fall of the Japanese yen, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

Tours on this route have nearly been booked out at Beijing-based BTG Outbound Tours, according to the travel agency's spokeswoman.

Only identifying herself as Guan, the spokeswoman said people's enthusiasm for the Japan tour has increased because the trips have become cheaper with the recent slump in Japan's currency.

The exchange rate has plunged to around 131 Japanese yen for one US dollar from 110 when the Japanese trips were first opened to Chinese people last year. A tourist who is allowed to exchange US$1,000 on an overseas trip for non-business purposes can get 20,000 more Japanese yen this year.

"With that extra money people can buy an MP3 player or a high-quality camera in Japan," Guan said. Shopping is often a major event on Japanese tours, but prices are usually high.

Business on the Japan-bound routes had been flat, Guan said. People often complained the tour package fees were too high, compared with other trips abroad, such as to the Southeast Asian countries.

They also said Japan's culture is too close to China's and the climate is too cold. They'd prefer Australia or Southeast Asia if they want a trip that is more exotic, comfortable and even cheaper.

(eastday.com January 18, 2002)

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