Sunday, September 26, 2010

China a No-Show at this Year's JATA World Travel Fair in Tokyo

One thing that definitely had a bad impression on the JATA World Travel Fair 2010 was the last minute cancellation of the displays and booths from China.

The gives us some insight as to why this happened:

BEIJING--City authorities here, reacting to the row with Japan over the arrest of a Chinese trawler captain, have called on local travel agencies to refrain from aggressively selling and promoting tours to Japan.

The step appears to be a deliberate measure to express Beijing's displeasure with Tokyo.

Earlier, China shelved Cabinet-level contacts with Japan.
Japanese authorities arrested the Chinese trawler captain after he rammed two Japan Coast Guard vessels in waters off the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
The incident two weeks ago soured bilateral ties because both countries claim sovereignty over the islands, which Chinese call Diaoyutai.
According to several travel agencies, Beijing's municipal tourism authorities summoned representatives of dozens of tourist companies Tuesday night to request they be less assertive in promoting tours to Japan.
The request was made verbally, according to people who attended the meeting.
An official with a leading travel agency in Beijing said Wednesday that tours to Japan up to early October that have been already booked will go ahead as scheduled.
But the agency is not recommending tours after that because Japan-China relations remain so strained.

China usually has a huge display on board for the JATA World Travel Fair so they were sorely missed. But the folks at JATA did a great job working like crazy to fill a huge hole in display area that was left by an absent China. I would imagine that most visitors to the JATA World Travel Fair 2010 would not notice China's absence unless they were alerted to it intentionally.

It struck me as strange, though, that, while China did not attend, there were huge displays and exhibits by Hong Kong and Macau.

Mish of Global Economic Analysis writes:

Tensions between China and Japan reached new heights in an escalating war of nerves between Japan and China. Here is the approximate sequence of events.

Japan kicked things off on September 7, with the arrest of a Chinese boat captain in disputed waters. In an escalating dispute, China blocked exports of rare earth metals to Japan on September 22.

Rare earth minerals are used in manufacturing and weapons production. The US gets most of its rare earth elements from China.

Tensions increased on September 23 when China arrested four Japanese employees of Fujita Corp on suspicion of violating Chinese law regarding the protection of military facilities.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton entered the fray "urging dialogue".

The House Armed Services Committee scheduled a hearing on Oct. 5 to review the American military dependence on Chinese rare earth elements.

Japan releases captain.

Of course it takes two to tango and Japan is not totally innocent in this incident, but this sort of nonsense could really spiral out of control. I really wonder why the Chinese government will sacrifice so much of their own economic good and the welfare of the people for such political and nationalistic principles. Couldn't these things be calmly discussed without such antics?

I remember in March of this year when the Chinese government (well, the Macau government to be exact) suddenly revoked the license of a domestic airlines and stranded 4,000 Japanese in one day. I understand that there might be some sort of problems, but doing things in this manner is akin to taking a hammer out to fix a problem with your car... 

They should have taken care of business and made sure the passengers could have flown and everything was fine on the business side... Stranding passengers just hurts business and a countries image and hurts sales and tourism. Hurting sales and tourism not only hurts the government's income, it hurts to regular person on the street trying to earn a living.

Let's hope that they keep this in mind when continuing to deal with these problems and cooler heads prevail.


China,  JATA,  JATA World Tourism Congress and Travel Fair,  Marketing Japan, Mike in Tokyo Rogers, JATA WTF 2010,  Macau, Hong Kong, Mike Rogers

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