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Travel & Leisure

Kansai airport makeover 'necessary' for inbound tourism: operator

$635m project to double gateway's capacity and lift COVID-hit Osaka

Kansai International Airport is undergoing a major renovation to welcome more foreign tourists ahead of Osaka’s hosting of the World Expo in 2025.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Kansai International Airport, in western Japan, is undergoing a major renovation to welcome more foreign tourists ahead of Osaka's hosting of the World Expo in 2025. The airport's operator says the 70 billion yen ($635 million) project is "what the Kansai region needs," despite the heavy blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benoit Rulleau, co-CEO of the airport's operator, Kansai Airports, told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview that increasing capacity for international passengers to 40 million -- nearly double the number who used the facility in the fiscal year through March 2020 -- will meet demand arising from the global gathering, which the organizer believes will draw around 28 million visitors through the six months of the World Expo.

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