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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Japan's Record Tourists Keeping Wallets Closed

Above, the ticket counters of the Tokyo Skytree. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Foreign visitors came into Japan in record numbers in 2016, but that didn't translate into big spending while they were in the country.

According to the Wall Street Journal:
TOKYO—Tourists are flooding into Japan in record numbers, but spending growth has slowed sharply in part because Chinese visitors are shying away from expensive items such as jewelry. 
The Japan National Tourism Organization said Tuesday that a record 24 million foreign tourists came to the country in 2016, nearly double the figure two years earlier. Visitors from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong combined make up slightly more than half the total. 
The visitors spent a total of ¥3.75 trillion ($33 billion) in 2016, another record. But the growth slowed sharply during the year. In the fourth quarter of 2016, spending was up just 1.3% compared with the same period a year earlier.
During my 2015 trip to Japan, since there was the three of us, I spent a little more than usual. Our spending mainly comprised of food, lodging, JR Rail Passes (a money-saver bought in the U.S.) and attractions and activities (such as the Tokyo Skytree, Sumida River cruise, Osaka Castle, Tokyo DisneySea, studio photos and a half-day tour of Kyoto). We did pick up some souvenirs, but those tended to be "practical" items such as yukatas and cutlery. Still, the trip was "under budget" as I returned home with plenty of leftover cash.

To read more, go here.

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