|Above, Fukuoka Tower in Kyushu. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun) has posted an article on the recent surge in foreign tourism to Japan and that it bodes well for Japan's goal in attaining 20 million foreign visitors by 2020.
In 2014, the number of foreign tourists to Japan reached 13.41 million, an increase of 29 percent from the previous year and setting a new record high for the second consecutive year. And while visitors were in Japan during 2014, they spent over ¥2 trillion on shopping and other travel expenses for the first time.
The government has made boosting the number of foreign visitors a key pillar of its economic growth strategy. It has set a goal of welcoming 20 million tourists annually by the time the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are held in 2020. We believe that achieving this target has taken on a touch of real possibility.
The biggest tailwind behind these figures has been the weakening of the yen in recent years. It is significant that traveling to Japan and shopping here has become relatively cheap for foreign visitors. In October 2014, the government expanded the list of goods on which foreign visitors do not have to pay consumption tax to include cosmetics, food and other items at designated shops, a move that also has yielded positive results.The government hopes to broaden the tourist destination base to areas outside of the current areas of concentration: Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. They believe that if other areas can be established into popular tourist spots, then jobs will be created in those places and young people would encouraged to live there permanently.
To read more, go here.