|Above, islets in Matsushima Bay. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Japan has a goal of 20 million foreign visitors by 2020 (in time for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo). Many believe 20 million is achievable, but some things need to be done to make it much more likely
The Japan Times has posted an editorial, "20 Million Tourists No Pipe Dream."
In it, they wrote:
A record 13.41 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2014, a 30 percent jump from the previous year, and the number may top 15 million in 2015. Infrastructure and tourism minister Akihiro Ota said that the goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors annually by the time Tokyo hosts the 2020 Summer Olympic Games may be achievable.
But both the national and local governments as well as the tourism industry need to consider whether their efforts to make the visitors’ stay in Japan comfortable and interesting are in step with the sharp rise in the number of tourists.
Improving the impression that tourists develop when they first arrive in Japan will contribute to increasing the number of repeat visitors.The editorial recognizes that most foreign visitors to Japan concentrate their time in Japan primarily in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. But they also want visitors to see places in Japan that are outside of "these typical routes." Tourism officials would like to see more foreign visitors in other places in Japan and they see the need to develop tourism resources that include "hot springs, attractive features in national parks and geoparks, historical towns, and towns that offer famous cuisine."
To read the full editorial, go here.