Osaka sees tourism boom in recent times

Published on : Monday, October 16, 2017

indexA tourism boom has been an unexpected boon for Osaka, considering all the problems and struggles that Osaka has seen in the recent years. The commercial roots and boisterous and friendly people of Osaka and the surrounding Kansai region is a stark contrast to the relative coolness and formality of Tokyo that’s becoming a popular with tourists from Northeast Asia.


This boom is boosting the local economy. Duty-free sales at department stores in the region were up almost 60 percent in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2016. The area’s relatively high unemployment rate has dropped considerably, to 4 percent last year, while the number of companies in Osaka grew 16 percent in the 12 months through March, which is faster than in Tokyo or across the entire nation.


While Japan as a whole has benefited a lot from a massive increase in tourism recently, a major percentage of increase has been from Osaka. Almost 10 million overseas tourists visited the city in 2016. The city is popular with tourists from Asia, partly due to increased flights by low-cost carriers, such as Spring Airlines Co. of China and Jeju Air Co. of South Korea.


This year expects to set another record, with 5.3 million visitors coming in the city in the first six months of 2017. “This inbound tourism has brought a growth chance to sectors such as the retail and restaurant business, which were shrinking due to population decline,” said Kimihiro Etoh, a Bank of Japan executive and manager of the Osaka branch.


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