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Travel & Leisure

Decimated by pandemic, Kyoto tourism hinges on Japanese visitors

Foreign sightseers fall 99% amid coronavirus restrictions

A sign at a Shinto shrine in Kyoto asks visitors not to enter the grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

TOKYO -- Kyoto and other cities in Japan should focus on attracting visitors from within the country, analysts say, as the novel coronavirus pandemic has almost completely wiped out foreign visitors.

Kyoto's tourism plan calls for 3 million overseas visitors spending the night each year. Actual numbers had easily exceeded the target, hitting 4.5 million visitors in 2018, with the sector as a whole bringing in more than 1 trillion yen ($9.3 billion) in revenue to the city. But the situation has taken a dramatic turn this year.

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