Japan specialists ‘continuing to monitor situation’ after earthquake

Specialist operators do not expect the powerful earthquake that hit Japan on New Year’s Day to have much impact on tours in the country.

At least 77 people were killed by the quake, which struck the Noto peninsula in central Japan.

The UK Foreign Office issued a travel alert, warning that aftershocks were a possibility and that transport links had been disrupted.

The comments followed InsideJapan which had just over 300 customers in Japan, with 15 in the affected region, but did not expect “any significant impact on travel” for them. Its customer support team in Japan contacted clients, who were all said to be “safe and well and continuing with their travels”.

“Our team on the ground are continuing to monitor the situation,” a spokesperson said.

Wendy Wu Tours does not operate tours to the affected region and did not anticipate disruption to forthcoming departures.

“Japan is renowned for its rigorous earthquake preparedness,” a spokesperson added.

“The country has stringent protocols in place and boasts excellent early warning signals.”

Riviera Travel said its first Japan tour of the year is due to depart on February 29.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and the guidance given by the FCDO,” it said in a statement.

“For agents looking to sell tours to Japan, customers are looking to book August onwards.”

Newmarket Holidays said its Japan Unveiled tour starts in late October and is mostly based in Tokyo and the south of the country.

Chris Crampton, chair of the Pacific Asia Travel Association UK chapter, said the affected region is largely rural and attracts few tourists.

“We’ve not had reports from our member operators and DMCs about pausing travel to Japan,” he said.

Tours continue to operate “with customer safety in mind”, he added, because large parts of Japan are unaffected, with transportation, hotels and attractions
open for business as usual.

“We encourage agents to facilitate flexible travel plans this year to support Japan and its tourism industry,” Crampton added.

He advised agents to monitor travel advisories as the situation “can be fast-changing” and to ensure clients have valid insurance.

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