Multiple-entry visas for Chinese tourists exceed 1000

Multiple-entry visas for Chinese tourists exceed 1000

Chinese tourists visiting Okinawa to take advantage of multiple entry visas, Naha Airport, in July.

August 9, 2011 Masaaki Umeda of Ryukyu Shimpo

The total number of multiple-entry visas issued since July for Chinese tourists on the condition of at least one night stay in Okinawa has exceeded 1000. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 748 multiple entry visas were issued in July, a 15-times increase over the 50 ordinary individual tourist visas issued last July. As of August 5, 1021 multiple entry visas have been issued.
Because one visa allows an entire family to enter Japan, the number of individual tourists visiting Okinawa is expected to swell beyond the number of visas issued. There has been an increase in inquiries from overseas to the local agencies including questions about the possibility of charter flights from all over China. A local travel company employee said, “More Chinese tourists are visiting than we thought would be the case,” and an official of the Foreign Ministry stated, “This is a good start.”

A five to six thousand yen room rate per night is the standard according to the travel agency responsible for looking after Chinese tourists in Okinawa. In some cases as many as six family members have visited on one visa. With regard to the length of the stay, on average tourists visiting Okinawa on direct flights from China usually stay for three or four nights to enjoy the sights. In the case of travel through a domestic airport, they tend to visit Okinawa via Tokyo, Osaka, stay one night stay here, and the next day they leave the prefecture.

A person from the travel company predicts, “Quite separate to it being the holiday season, the number of Chinese tourists to visit Okinawa has increased every weekend since the multiple entry visa for Chinese tourists was issued and we are sure that it will continue to increase.”

The traditional individual tourist visa is available for only one visit to Japan. If you get a multiple entry visa, you can visit Japan several times during its period of validity of three years. It is aimed at more wealthy tourists and their families, who have a regular income, and it also requires a stay more than one night in Okinawa during the first visit. It is extended to 90 nights from the conventional 15 nights per stay for tourists.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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