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Business

JTB buys Singapore peer

TOKYO -- JTB, the top Japanese travel agency, has snatched up a leading Singapore-based purveyor of group tours, aiming to seize on surging demand from monied Southeast Asians keen to visit Japan.

     JTB recently purchased all of Dynasty Travel's stock for an estimated several billion yen. The Southeast Asian firm, which generated sales of 94 million Singapore dollars ($74.2 million) in fiscal 2013, excels in the area of package tours aimed at wealthy ethnic Chinese.

     Dynasty Travel enjoys an average per-customer rate equivalent to roughly 200,000 yen ($1,952), about twice the sum Southeast Asians typically spend to travel overseas.

     JTB and the subsidiary will together develop new packages to Japan, aiming to boost the total number of offerings by 140% to 1,000 by year's end. They will also expand operations in such countries as Malaysia and Indonesia by next spring, targeting sales of 10 billion yen in 2016.

     While Japan's domestic travel market is slumping, last year the country counted more than 10 million foreign visitors for the first time. And the government would like to raise that figure to 20 million in 2020.

     JTB, which saw its group businesses handle 810,000 foreign tourists in 2013, aims to serve 1.5 million in 2015, many of whom would be from other Asian countries.

     According to the Japan National Tourism Organization, total tourist traffic from six Southeast Asian nations -- Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines -- leapt 48% in 2013 to about 1.15 million people. That puts the region not far behind third-ranked China, which sent 1.31 million tourists to Japan.

(Nikkei)

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