Japan is feeling a little lonely these days. After several years of skyrocketing popularity as an international travel destination, coronavirus-triggered restrictions on non-essential entry to the country has brought inbound tourism to a halt.
But it looks like the lull in international travel to Japan is only going to be a temporary situation. The Development Bank of Japan and Japan Travel Bureau Foundation have released the results of a recent survey on would-be travelers’ post-pandemic plans, and Japan is at the top of their to-go lists.
The online survey collected roughly 6,200 responses from people in 12 countries, including the U.S., China, France, and Korea. 82 percent said they plan to travel overseas once the pandemic ends, and when asked where they want to go, Japan was the top answer, chosen by 46 percent of respondents. Korea and Taiwan ranked second and third, with 22 and 17 percent, respectively.
When asked where in the country they want to go, Tokyo was naturally the most common response, coming from 47 percent of respondents who want to visit Japan. This was followed by the northern island of Hokkaido (42 percent), famed for its beautiful mountains and world-class ski slopes, and the central Kansai region (37 percent), which includes cultural Kyoto, scenic Kobe, and the urban attractions of Osaka, such as Universal Studios Japan. Tokyo-area attractions outside the capital city, such as Kanagawa Prefecture’s seaside city of Yokohama and Hakone hot springs, came in fourth, at 30 percent.
When asked why they hope to visit Japan, 47 percent of respondents mentioned having specific sightseeing destinations they want to see. Japan’s reputation for delicious food (43 percent) and cleanliness (36 percent) were also strong motivating factors.
Of course, all these potential travel plans are predicated on “when the pandemic is over,” which unfortunately isn’t a completely binary status. In discussing the survey results, Development Bank of Japan representative Takako Naito stressed the importance of enacting effective health and hygiene policies as soon as possible to bring down infection numbers and put travelers’ minds at ease that Japan is a safe country to travel to once that once again becomes an option.
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