Chinese group tours are back in Japan but anyone banking on them arriving in droves and splashing around cash like they did before the pandemic is likely to be disappointed.
An ANA Holdings flight on Wednesday evening brought in the first package-tour visitors from Beijing since China lifted its pandemic-era restrictions on the trips to Japan and other key markets including the United States.
But hopes the return of packaged tours will herald big returns for department stores, hotels and restaurants in Japan are clashing with a Chinese economy struggling to post significant growth and Japan's controversial plans to release treated wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
"Chinese consumer sentiment is cooler than ever, and the desire to save is increasing," said Sony Financial Group economist Takayuki Miyajima.
Isetan Mitsukoshi is expecting less "explosive buying" at its department stores now that many high-end brands are available within China, a spokesperson said.
Sightseeing operator Hato Bus also said it was restarting Chinese-language tours in September, but with smaller vehicles.
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