Visits by Chinese slowed after the 2011 nuclear disaster and a 2012 revival of tensions between Tokyo and Beijing. After exploring South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, many affluent Chinese travelers are making up for lost time, said Shaun Rein, Shanghai-based managing director of market intelligence firm CMR.
“There’s massive pent-up demand,” Rein said.
To lure more big spenders, Japan has slashed sales taxes on a wider range of items favored by foreign tourists and is setting up duty-free counters at hundreds of shops in Tokyo and elsewhere, even in drug stores — medicines and supplements are big sellers among Chinese and Russian tourists.
The Laox duty-free shop in Ginza was crammed with Chinese buying watches, cosmetics, robotic vacuum cleaners and space-age rice cookers.
Ultra high-tech, detachable toilet seats with automatic lighting and lid opening and closing, that warm, wash and dry are another big must-haves among Chinese, even though the products are made-in-China for export to Japan.
“The new status symbol in China is buying things and having experiences,” said Rein. “It’s not just buying a Louis Vuitton bag but how you bought it and how you did something cool.”More in Japan Times.
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