Japan gears up for 2020 Olympics and welcoming more tourists

Published on : Friday, January 12, 2018

JapanA record number of tourists visited Japan last year, as the country prepares to welcome the world to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Some 28.7 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2017. It means that the country has tripled its number of visitors in the past five years amid a huge promotional drive before the Olympics. The visitor numbers show nearly 20-per cent gain on the previous year. The numbers are boosted by the Chinese tourists taking advantage of more frequent low-cost flights to Japan.

According to figures up to November last year, Chinese tourists led the way with 6.79 million trips, just ahead of South Korea with 6.46 million.

Tokyo has simplified visa requirements, expanded duty free programmes and changed customs and immigration rules to promote tourism for boosting the nation’s overall economic growth.

“We need to take further steps and accelerate our efforts toward achieving the goal of 40 million visitors by 2020,” said Transport Minister Keiichi Ishii.

Previously, Japan used to focus on attracting shopaholic foreign tourists to urban areas, like Tokyo’s glitzy Ginza district. But in recent years, more and more foreign visitors are venturing away from traditional tourist hubs like the capital and the ancient city of Kyoto, and going further, rather than buying gadgets to bring home. Busloads of tourists from around the world regularly take a day trip from Tokyo to trek Mount Fuji and deep forests surrounding Japan’s highest peak.

“In addition to individual Asian visitors and repeat customers, we need to continue raising awareness among potential tourists in Europe, the US and Australia,” Ishii added.

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