According to figures from the Japan National Tourism Office, foreign visitors to Japan hit a record high of 4.95 million from January-June this year, up 22.8% from the same period last year. This beat the previous record of 4.33 million visitors during January-June of 2008. The increase in tourists is due to the weak yen and the proliferation of low-cost carriers.
The JNTO believes that the country’s tourism industry has already recovered from the negative effects of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters. The government is still targeting 10 million visitors for the whole of 2013 as compared to the 8.37 million from 2012. Compared to other countries, Japan enjoyed a much better tourism situation, as figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization showed that the number of tourists around the world grew just 4% during the January-June period.
When it comes to visitors to Japan by country and region, South Koreans accounted for the largest number of foreign visitors at 1.32 million, which is up 38.4% from last year, despite the diplomatic tensions between the two countries. In contrast, the number of Chinese visitors fell 27% with only 536,200 visitors in the six-month period, with the territorial and historical issues playing a big part in the slump.
The Chinese government also released their tourism data, with Japanese visitors to China dropping 25.5% from last year to 1.39 million. Aside from the dispute between the two countries, the growing concern about the air pollution problem in China has severely affected the numbers. This is a big issue for the Chinese tourism industry as Japanese tourists make up the second largest number of arrivals, next to South Korea.
[ via Nikkei ]
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