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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Tourist Flood, Japan Struggles

Japan set a new record last year by attracting nearly 20 million foreign visitors. They nearly met their 2020 goal five years early.

Above, our hotel during last year's visit to Japan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While Japan is pleased with the hordes of tourists visiting the country, it also presents problems that needs to be addressed.

According to the Wall Street Journal:
Two years ago, Mr. Abe set a goal of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020, the year Tokyo holds the Olympic Games, another sure bet to attract more visitors. With that number in sight late last year, he raised the target to 30 million, without specifying a date. 
But Japan is struggling to handle even two thirds of that number, hobbled by a shortage of hotel rooms and insufficient immigration agents that cause long airport lines.
Last October, when we arrived at Narita International Airport, all lines at the Immigration section were only about 3-4 people deep. Maybe we were just lucky when we arrived when we did. Other times, I've had to wait about 20 minutes before reaching an Immigration agent.

If the trend continues, they will need to expand their facilities for handling the influx of foreign visitors.

On the accommodation side, I had to put a little more effort to book rooms in Tokyo than in years past. Again, if the trend continues, this will get worse.

To read more, go here.

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