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Report says tourism in Japan is rebounding slowly

October 5, 2011 | 11:43 am

Tourism in earthquake-damaged Japan is rebounding, a report says
The tourism industry in Japan -- devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March -- has slowly begun to rebound, with a full recovery expected by next year.

Those conclusions came from a report by the Worth Travel and Tourism Council that said the number of international visitors to Japan dropped off significantly in June and July, 36% below the average for the same period in 2010. Foreign visitors generate about $16 billion in annual spending in Japan.

But domestic travel demand dropped by only 2% in June and July, helping to keep the overall tourism numbers at just 5% below 2010 levels, the report said.

News that radiation leakage from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is under control should help improve the country's tourism business, the report said.

"In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, the nuclear emergency was a key uncertainty that posed a significant threat to any early recovery in international demand," the report said.

And in good news for Hawaii, the number of Japanese tourists visiting the Aloha State has started to rise, after dropping in March and April to 24% below 2010 levels. In July, the number of Japanese travelers to Hawaii was only 9% below the levels in the same month in 2010, according to the report.

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-- Hugo Martin

Photo: A ship in Kesennuma, Japan, was thrown on land by the tsunami. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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