Record numbers visited Japan in July, led by Chinese tourists
TOKYO -- A wave of Chinese tourists swelled the number of foreigners visiting Japan to 1,269,700 in July, up 27% from a year earlier and a monthly record, according to a report released Wednesday by the Japan National Tourism Organization.
The tally for the first seven months was 7.53 million visitors, up 26% from the same stretch of 2013 and on pace to top the total for last year, when foreign tourists to Japan exceeded 10 million for the first time ever.
More slots for international flights at Tokyo's Haneda Airport and looser visa requirements for tourists from Southeast Asia made traveling to Japan easier.
This was particularly true for Chinese tourists, whose numbers in July doubled from a year earlier to 281,200. Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines now flies to Osaka from Tianjin, Wuhan and Chongqing, and China Southern Airlines and other carriers operate charter flights to Hokkaido and Okinawa.
Tourists from South Korea increased for the first time in six months, rising 3% to 250,600.
No longer needing tourist visas, visitors from Thailand jumped 42% to 42,900, and travelers from Malaysia surged 63% to 16,200.