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No. of foreign visitors to Japan surpasses 20 mil target for year

36 Comments

The number of tourists visiting Japan so far this year has already surpassed the 20 million target set for 2016, the Japan Tourism Agency announced Monday.

According to the agency, as of Sunday, an estimated 20 million tourists have visited Japan in the first 10 months of the year, Fuji TV reported. The total number of visitors for 2015 was 19.74 million.

Tourism officials attribute the hike in tourism numbers to the weak yen in the first half of the year, more international flights in and out of Haneda Airport, more cruise ships visiting Japanese ports, as well as the easing of visa regulations for countries in Southeast Asia. Agency officials also noted that the list of duty-free products has been expanded leading to an increase in sales at department and other stores.

However, agency officials said the yen's recent appreciation and a slowdown in the Chinese economy may lead to lower tourism numbers, reducing buying sprees by Chinese tourists.

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36 Comments
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According to the agency, as of Sunday, an estimated 20 million tourists have visited Japan in the first 10 months of the year

Kudos to tourism agency for fastest update (!)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As Japan keeps hoping and wishing for a weaker yen so their exports will sell more, it will hurt the number of foreign tourists coming to Japan. SO Japan, which is better, tourists coming and staying eating shopping, and hopefully buying, or selling abroad? I think if they had the choice selling abroad would be the favored way, but now since they have no choice, they keep touting the number of foreign tourists.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Hopefully the Japanese government will upgrade the likes of Kansai airport and others to deal with all the extra visitors if they want to be taken seriously as a place for people to visit as this place has become a nightmare to get through security recently.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

As Japan keeps hoping and wishing for a weaker yen so their exports will sell more, it will hurt the number of foreign tourists coming to Japan.

Sorry, I can't see that MarkX. A weaker yen is good for tourists too. Tourism is an export.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Great news.

@kobe gaijin, actually think J tourism should promote smaller, underused airports (J travel agencies may just do that actually?) I no longer use kix for example but either Itami or Kobe, 2 fine, smaller and centrally located airports. Kix is soooo early 2000s ;)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As Japan keeps hoping and wishing for a weaker yen so their exports will sell more, it will hurt the number of foreign tourists coming to Japan.

Umm, no it won't. A weaker yen means foreign tourists will find Japan relatively cheaper (they're own currency will buy more yen), so they'll be more likely to come, stay longer or buy more.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

KIX terminal 1 is not so bad but terminal 2 is a nightmare! And it feels like a prison-stark and bare. Flying in at night there is a particularly disappointing experience......

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't think the number of tourists is related to the value of the yen. It is because Japan is the only safe place in the world to travel to at the moment.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

And, just think how many more tourists would come to Japan if it were more foreigner-friendly.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Awesome congrats Japan!

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

II have to admit, Japan looks better and better these days. The former paradise destinations like Thailand have been long spoiled. They are not as untouched as they were, and they are not even as cheap as they were.

Japan can be relatively inexpensive, you rarely have to deal with hawkers, hustlers and criminals that prey on tourists, the taxis don't try to rip you off, tips are not expected, the list goes on. My only fear is that Japan will be inundated with tourists, spoiling some of my favourite spots. But overall, the tourism is a good thing. It will help open up the country as well.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Awesome news, I get the feeling we would be in recession if it weren't for this tourism boom

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are a lot more rooms to improve to attract foreign tourists in local areas.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Last time I came back from abroad, at KIX I felt pity for tourists lining for immigration.There should must be improvement.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"My only fear is that Japan will be inundated with tourists, spoiling some of my favourite spots. But overall, the tourism is a good thing. It will help open up the country as well." - me too if these tourists stay in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto Japan will still be a country worth travelling to

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The fact that they are already having trouble (in a number of senses) accommodating 20 million a year up to this point, when a place like New York City, alone, sees almost 60 million a year, tells you that there is still enormous room for further improvement, especially outside the major urban areas. The 2020 Olympics will help somewhat, but what about after that?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Stephen, the challenge is to keep domestic and foreign tourism numbers separate. NYC combined total visitors may total 60 million, but I have a hard time believing that an average of 1000 plane loads of foreign visitors disembark and embark from NYC's JFK every single day of the year. France, I've read, has the highest total of foreign sightseers arriving per year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

DisillusionedNov. 01, 2016 - 09:38AM JST And, just think how many more tourists would come to Japan if it were more foreigner-friendly."

I have no idea what you mean by "if (Japan) were more foreigner-friendly." As a foreigner who visited Japan many times I always found it very "foreigner-friendly," more so than many other countries. Ever think maybe it is your attitude that might have to change?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The lack of language skills outside Tokyo is pretty abysmal. The lack of other language menus in restaurants is also daunting for the non Japanese speaker. Is nt find it a problem as I've been here a long time However, as some posters have mentioned there (still) is a lot of room for improvement

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The more the visa restrictions are eased, the more people will come. There are rich people everywhere in Asia who don't care about the strong yen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good news and as commanteer says, this will have a positive influence on Japan, bringing much needed internationalization and a renewed appreciation of genuinely good things about Japan, like traditional architecture.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't think the number of tourists is related to the value of the yen. It is because Japan is the only safe place in the world to travel to at the moment.

Someone recently posted on the safest countries in Asia alone, and Japan didn't even crack the top 3. Don't kid yourself, Japan may be relatively safe, but claiming to be THE ONLY safe place in the world is a little cocky and untrue.

As for visiting Japan, I avoid Tokyo and Osaka like the plague. Much prefer smaller cities like Sapporo or Fukuoka.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The lack of language skills outside Tokyo is pretty abysmal>

As is the lack of indifference, bad manners and insularized views

0 ( +3 / -3 )

ClippetyClopNOV. 01, 2016 - 03:05PM JST

As is the lack of indifference

What do you mean by lack of indifference? Do you think the Japanese should just stay away from the foreign travelers?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Good business opportunities abound...especially for those who make an effort to learn Mandarin, English, Korean or Thai.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What do you mean by lack of indifference? Do you think the Japanese should just stay away from the foreign travelers?>

You missed my point by assuming I was being critical. I was not. I meant that outside of large cities Japanese people are extremely welcoming, polite and open. You can put your shield away for now.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It would be interesting to see a breakdown of where these tourists are going. It's probably a bit tricky to get exact numbers for this, but it would be interesting to know if places like Shikoku are getting increased numbers of tourists, and if so what sort of impact is it having on the local economy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My fiance and I are two of those tourists, 2nd time visiting Japan in 1 year and due to the weaker yen we could spend a month each time we visited. We are hopelessly in love with the country, especially with Hokkaido, and if we could, we would live there. We found Japan to be mostly foreigner-friendly, at least to Westerners. We were stared at quite a lot, but other than that, some people went our of their way big time to help us, especially the older generation actually! (If they are reading this, since both speak very good English- Man who helped me with my luggage at Obihiro and even helped us out at our hotel, thank you! Also woman who stayed with me whilst I felt faint whilst climbing Kurodake, bought me lunch and made sure my blood pressure was fine throughout the climb, also thank you!!) We both cannot speak much Japanese although we understand it. Sometimes this caused confusion but we managed fine and it was an awesome adventure, just next time I will only bring minimal clothing and will try not to end up with 50kg of luggage. Japan produces too much cool stuff, and I love it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The immigration queues at KIX are awful, but I much prefer it when entering Japan than Haneda or Narita.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The lack of language skills outside Tokyo is pretty abysmal.

I livz outside Tokiyo, and I rezent that remarck!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ironic that the two types of people Japan hates the most, the Chinese and Koreans, are helping to prop up the economy here. Go on, bite the hand that feeds ya.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Tourists just come to Japan to enjoy scenarios. Americans know they don't have to avoid cops in Japan. Tourists know Japanese speak Japanese, not other languages.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

They may want more tourists, but something seriously has to be done to expand the amount of accommodation basically everywhere except Tokyo and Osaka. If you want to stay in Kyoto in Sakura season, then you have to book several months ahead. Booking a group of 20 people or more requires you to be 6-12 months early, unless you want to beg JTB to help you out.

Half the hotels and 95% of taxi/bus companies still use fax ...

Famous sightseeing spots are overly crowded already. As a group, you have to use 2-3h just to see Kiyomizu Temple during peak season. Try going to Arashiyama ...

Japan is far from ready for this boom. I am going to flee to the mountains during Autumn leaves season!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ironic that the two types of people Japan hates the most, the Chinese and Koreans, are helping to prop up the economy here. Go on, bite the hand that feeds ya.

They just wouldn't bother with politics as you always do

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

two types of people Japan hates the most, the Chinese and Koreans, are helping to prop up the economy here.

Japan doesn't hate anyone. It can't, as it's not a sentient being. It's a nation of 120 million people, all with their own sets of opinions. Learn to think about it that way, and you will feel the hate wither away and be a happier person.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One thing I notice is that Japan gives the better prices and extra services to visitors. In Hawaii the residents get the bulk of the special deals...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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