ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Economy

Asian travelers help push Japan's tourist count over 20m

With more visitors traveling solo, infrastructure holes highlighted

Japan hopes to welcome 40 million foreign tourists by the year 2020.

TOKYO -- Japan is welcoming tourists at a faster pace this year, with the number of foreign visitors surpassing 20 million as of Friday, but the influx has also shed light on infrastructure issues in need of attention.

Japan hit the 20 million threshold 45 days earlier than last year, Akihiro Tamura, commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, told reporters Wednesday.

Foreign visitors grew 21% on the year to 2.47 million in August. Tourists from China helped boost the total, as their ranks increased 21% to a monthly record of 819,700. Instead of group tours, more travelers seem to be traveling on their own or on cruises, and individual visa applications are on the rise. Cruise ships seem to be running at full occupancy lately despite vacancies in the first half of the year.

The number of South Korean travelers jumped 35% to 620,900, while the count from Hong Kong rose 24% to 196,800. An increase in international flight routes also helped, as tourists from 10 countries and regions grew by double digits.

In the January-August period, the number of inbound tourists grew 18% to 18.9 million. At this rate, almost 30 million foreigners will visit Japan by the end of the year. Japan is making good progress on the government's goal of welcoming 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics.

"Incoming tourists are rising steadily, but high-level challenges are emerging," Tamura said. With more visitors opting to travel on their own, transport infrastructure needs upgrading. For example, more foreign tourists relying on public transport means that signs will need to be written in multiple languages.

To tackle such problems, a departure tax is being considered by the government to help fund infrastructure projects at major tourist spots. Japan plans to arrive at a decision by the end of the year, but whether to include Japanese nationals remains a major sticking point.

(Nikkei)

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media