Visitors to Sapporo Snow Festival Fall 26 Pct

Society

Sapporo, Feb. 12 (Jiji Press)--The number of visitors to this year's Sapporo Snow Festival dropped some 26 pct from a year before, reflecting the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak, according to the organizing committee.

The number of visitors to the annual festival in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, northernmost Japan, stood at 2,021,000, the fifth lowest on record since data for the same size of the venue became available in 1993. The latest event was held from Feb. 4 to Tuesday.

The drop was mainly due to a steep fall in the number of group tourists from China, where pneumonia blamed on the virus is spreading rapidly.

Cancellations of group visits by children at local elementary schools and kindergartens in the wake of the virus outbreak are also believed to have led to the decline, according to the committee.

Despite a record-low snowfall, the temperature remained below freezing point during the event. "Snow sculptures were kept in beautiful condition. There was no trouble over the coronavirus," an official at the committee said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press