No. of foreign tourists to Japan reaches record 24.04 mil in 2016

TOKYO —

A record 24.04 million tourists visited Japan in 2016, an increase of 22% over 2015, the tourism ministry announced Tuesday. It was also the first year that the number of foreign tourists to Japan surpassed the 20-million mark, Fuji TV reported.

Tourism minister Keiichi Ishii attributed the increase to more low cost carriers flying to Japan, the easing of visa regulations for tourists from several Asian countries, as well more cruise ships visiting Japan. The biggest numbers came from South Korea and China, Ishii told a news conference.

However, Ishii said the rate of increase in 2016 was less than in 2015, due to a weakening in China’s economic growth and the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture in April.

The government hopes to attract 40 million tourists a year by 2020 and will upgrade port facilities as well as expand flight capacity at major airports. It plans to promote tourism in areas that still remain unknown to many visitors who tend to stick to the so-called golden routes.

Japan Today

  • -10

    Wakarimasen

    Weak yen. Cool Japan. More people with money. all good. except for the STD's

  • 6

    smithinjapan

    "The biggest numbers came from South Korea and China, Ishii told a news conference."

    Some people here need to remember that when they are busy complaining about people from those two nations all the time, because 2016 can definitely be called the year of most complaints (by people who engage in the same behaviour both at home and abroad, for that matter). Yes, some tourists are rude, and so are some locals, but take the bad with the good and remember that the good far outweighs the bad, here, and Japan needs the economic boost.

  • 10

    Blacklabel

    40 million tourists per year is going to be really rough to support. Especially for lodging and public transportation.

  • 5

    papigiulio

    but take the bad with the good and remember that the good far outweighs the bad, here, and Japan needs the economic boost.

    Not to disagree but the usual Hanako or Taro don't get anything from tourists and I don't see the economy going extremely well either.

  • -2

    Udondashi

    Most people are led to believe that tourism has a major impact on the Japanese economy but tourism represents less than 1% of the Japanese GDP.

  • 4

    Rana Sodhi

    Smithinjapan, you are right but I would say most of these tourists are well behaved and they create lively atmosphere whenever and wherever I have noticed.

  • 6

    dcog9065

    Good news for the tourism economy, which should trickle down to the general population

  • 3

    Nessie

    Tourism minister Keiichi Ishii attributed the increase to more low cost carriers flying to Japan, the easing of visa regulations for tourists from several Asian countries, as well more cruise ships visiting Japan.

    They finally get it.

    I live in a huge tourist city and prefecture and I applaud the rise in tourism. Just wondering: Given all this additional tax income, how much will my city/prefectural taxes go down?

  • 2

    Ghost rider

    Shops make business and the residents at popular spots have the noise and traffic jam.

  • 7

    Fred Wallace

    This is just a way for abe to promote mass immigration without the Japanese people not realizing what was going on.

    ???

    How in the world did you come to this conclusion??

  • 4

    JBird

    @ Udondashi

    Not sure where you came up with the 1%. The latest reports I've seen show tourism's contribution to the GDP a great number of times greater than that amount! Do you have a like to support that? Please post.

  • 1

    Player_Hatsu

    *) Public announcements and educating the Japanese people how fatal it is for the Japanese economy without immigration (In reality it is not). Which the Japanese government isn't even trying.

    Last year Shinzo Abe said in a Reuters news conference that Japan will replace humans with artificial intelligence, wireless sensors and automation (Which is actually happening in parts of Japan).

    *) Spending more on making signs and other informative pieces foreign friendly, by having English and other languages such as Korean or Chinese. Which is rarely done and outside of Tokyo it is even rarer.

    This is only done for places which are frequented by tourists. Tourist spots and tourist hotels.

    *) Teaching cultural differences in schools and teaching languages such as Chinese or Korean for better understanding.

    I am born to a Japanese father and a Chinese mother I lived in the States through out my child hood till I came back to Japan and attended a Japanese high school. I am surprised to see that Japanese high school students suck at English also my brother (Now a junior school student) who was born after our family came to Japan, he also doesn't know anything about different cultures or languages apart from Japanese and some English due to our family up bringing.

    *) By making it easier for foreigners to find jobs and changing visa categories.

    Japan isn't changing any of these, most people aren't conscious about this but almost all visa categories are in temporary basis and are only limited in renewals and Japanese authority seize the visa and put into the holders detention and deport them if the holders have violated the rules, if Japan is planning to do something like you said wouldn't it be easier for them to turn a blind eye on issues like these, just like the European countries are doing ?.

    Also

    Deportation has sky rocketed and the Japanese authorities have deported about 7,000 people in the first half of the year 2016 (Jan 2016 - July 2016).

    Also tourists who have violated visa regulations are severely punished by either prohibiting future entry into the country or by fines, which is designed to discourage tourists who are overstaying. And tourists who are found gone missing are subjected for an immediate deportation.

    Japanese manufacturing plants are actually moving out of the country to countries with cheaper labour and excessive supply, countries like China and Vietnam are notable, and home companies are targeting overseas customers now by penetrating into different countries so that companies will be more profitable and competitive than operating in just one country. The pace of this happening is so fast that in just 5 or 6 years the demand for foreign trainees and others who come to Japan for work related reasons will shrink to a level that the remaining visa categories (work related) will also be wiped out.

    What Japan needs is actually highly skilled foreign workers whom are actually fewer than 1,500. But recent attraction of Chinese will make this figure rise but it will not be anything notable.

    So NO! Japan is gonna take the automation/robots for tertiary sector route like it did in the late 90's with automation/robots for secondary sector.

  • 0

    hachikou

    The biggest numbers came from South Korea and China, Ishii told a news conference.

    But I thought they,... ah never mind..

  • 2

    Akula

    Good for the tax take I am sure. Again though I do hope this boom gets to all parts of Japan and not just the main destinations. I note Matsuyama lost its Seoul flight recently, perhaps the regions just aren't attracting the tourists, but Tokyo/Kyoto/Osaka are.

  • 3

    goldorak

    Not to disagree but the usual Hanako or Taro don't get anything from tourists and I don't see the economy going extremely well either.

    Probably true but the complementary income ppl are earning from tourism (directly or indirectly) is often the difference between a not-so-good year and an ok one. Tourism will never be a 'serious' engine to drive economic growth for a country the size (population and economic) of Japan like it is for so called developing nations but I still think it is an important source of revenue especially for low and middle income earners (ppl who work seasonal jobs, are often under qualified etc).

  • 3

    gogogo

    Not enough hotels currently

  • 11

    JenniferGleeson

    My husband and I (mid-50 year olds from Australia) visited Japan last year and had a wonderful cultural experience, doing our own thing, and were made very welcome. I had a bicycle accident (my fault) and were treated with great care by the police, ambulance and hospital. We met great people who shared a lot with us. We loved Japan and will be back. Keep your culture intact and share it with us.

  • 2

    voyagesbooth

    Japan’s Cherry blossom festival is around the corner and seems like tourists will reach to attend this festival in thousands of number. To book air tickets to attend this festival, visit Voyages Booth.

  • 4

    Mlodinow

    You can really notice the increased number of tourists around Tokyo. Hard to imagine what it will be like if they do manage to double it because the majority of them will no doubt come through Haneda/Narita. It's good for the economy but the increased number of people simply standing in the way around major stations and on escalators etc is already mildly annoying when you're in a hurry.

  • 5

    kohakuebisu

    A huge jump. Good news.

    Tourism to Japan has taken a long time to take off, so I hope no-one is patting themself on the back for this. With better promotion etc., it could have happened years ago. Opportunities like the Nagano Olympics and the football World Cup were squandered.

  • 1

    kurisupisu

    Japan is seeing a huge increase in especially Chinese tourists and I am dreading Chinese New Year as it usually brings congestion and I noticed higher prices for hotel bookings is becoming more of a trend in January,which was never a busy tourist season past the start of January. This year I have almost missed international flights twice due to Kansai Airport clumping several flights for take off at the same time resulting in unmanageable queues of passengers! Other posters fail to note that the status quo is changing with the Japanese authorities failing to rectify problems of overbooking, full hotels and tour buses,companies are looking at the foreign market and little by little ignoring the shrinking domestic one in the name of profit. The once ever so polite Japanese may start to see tourists as something unwanted rather than as guests to be welcomed-that would be a shame......

  • 3

    Chop Chop

    So Japan doesn't need Casino for tourists attraction after all.

  • -5

    Schopenhauer

    I don't know why they come to Japan. Buildings are ugly. Towns are in disarray. Prices are high. Traffic congested. Many come from China and other asian countries. If there is anything good about Japan comapared with their countries. It is free and democratic.

  • 3

    Jonathan Prin

    Good but reaching 40 millions is another level !

    Tourist spots are already limited and congested. How are they going to reach this figure ?

  • 2

    commanteer

    tourism represents less than 1% of the Japanese GDP.

    Fine. Tourism is not be a huge part of the GDP in any developed country. Only poorer countries depend on tourism for revenue.

    But don't overlook the benefits that aren't measured by its direct contribution to GDP. There are all kinds of soft benefits that tourism doesn't get credit for. It makes a place attractive, which means talented people and companies may be more likely to relocate here. It also helps with relations in the case of Japan. Many Chinese and Koreans have a distorted view of Japan that can be tempered by an actual visit.

    An attractive tourist destination is more likely to host major conventions and meetings, as well. There are so many benefits that overshadow whatever GDP number you come up with.

  • 3

    Agoston Revesz

    Well, 40 million per year is a good target. ...there are still so many americans, canadians and australians who wish to visit Japan.

  • 4

    kurisupisu

    The reason for the Chinese to come here is amongst many , the relatively clean environment and the chance to buy untainted and safe products ......

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    papigiulio: "Not to disagree but the usual Hanako or Taro don't get anything from tourists and I don't see the economy going extremely well either."

    Your average Hanako or Taro sure wouldn't like to be spit on when travelling abroad, though, and they engage in the same behaviour whether they will admit it or not.

    Rana Sodhi: "Smithinjapan, you are right but I would say most of these tourists are well behaved and they create lively atmosphere whenever and wherever I have noticed."

    That's my point -- it's the people here who complain about ALL Chinese and Korean tourists (and otherwise in some cases) that are the problem. I can't count the number of times I heard, "I went to such and such but SO many Chinese!" with a scowl on the speakers' faces.

  • 0

    Aly Rustom

    The government hopes to attract 40 million tourists a year by 2020 and will upgrade port facilities as well as expand flight capacity at major airports.

    That's almost double. Too ambitious if you ask me. My advice would be get rid of the fingerprinting. Who knows how many tourists opt not to come here because of it. I can tell you that if not for the fingerprinting I would have visited South Korea.

    The biggest numbers came from South Korea and China, Ishii told a news conference." Some people here need to remember that when they are busy complaining about people from those two nations all the time, because 2016 can definitely be called the year of most complaints (by people who engage in the same behaviour both at home and abroad, for that matter). Yes, some tourists are rude, and so are some locals, but take the bad with the good and remember that the good far outweighs the bad, here, and Japan needs the economic boost.

    Excellent point. On the money smith.

  • 0

    Ron Barnes

    Id love to visit Japan as I think its a place of beauty and History amongst Modernisation and old to dilapidated but beauty can be found in every asset of the Japanese people and Islands . but alas im too poor so Japan look forward to a better future and Population increases as your youth mature into adults for a peaceful future in this world.

  • 2

    vinarius@pm.catv.ne.jp

    SOMETIMES, I wonder if the Japanese Media is still living in Edo times ???.YES, U are having many tourists, but what kind of tourists ???.THOSE THAT DINE IN REAL GOOD RESTUARANTS OR those that have takoyaki and ramen ???. Pls try to help all the Japanese that are working really hard and making big scacrifies for their country.Only Cheap businesses are working, will help no one as everyone is working for free.How can the economy grow ???. Pls make better promotion to get better quality tourists and not just those that go for cheap stuff. Japan is passed that.

  • 0

    backscratcher

    Your average Hanako or Taro sure wouldn't like to be spit on when travelling abroad, though, and they engage in the same behaviour whether they will admit it or not.

    "Spit on"? What ever are you talking about?

  • 0

    toshiko

    Middle class Chirssnd S Koreans people are visiting Japan. There are bunch of old fashioned hotels eerywherein Japan. If one or two integrated casino get License, rich tourists have place to stay better than Monte zCarlo.

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