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Transport Ministry Steps In: Airfares Rise, Tourists Stay Away

Date Posted: 2000-04-21

Changes in Japans transportation regulations from April 1 are having a devastating affect on tourism to Okinawa. The new regulations force tour operators to state the price of the airfare portion of a package tour separately when they sell a tour. Tour operators also have to register their package ticket prices with the transportation ministry. That has greatly reduced the number of discounts tour operators are offering to their customers. The regulations limit the discount for a round trip air ticket to 60 percent. For example, some tour operators sold a round trip ticket Tokyo Okinawa, including hotel accommodation for two nights for as low as Y19,800 - a discount well below the 60 percent limit. The basic price for a Tokyo Okinawa air fare is Y52,000, not including the hotel. The new regulations have forced travel agents to raise their prices which has lead to a reduction in the number of tourists coming to Okinawa by as much as 20 percent, according to some estimates.

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