The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) announced on Friday that the number of tourists arriving in Japan surpassed 30 million for the very first time in 2019, achieving a record high of 31.88 million.
The figure, representing a 2.2% increase over 2018, is a major step towards the government’s goal of reaching 40 million inbound tourists in 2020 – a goal that will be aided by the Tokyo Olympic Games starting in July.
China accounted for almost a third of all visitors to Japan in 2019 with a record 9,594,300 visitors, an increase of 14.5% compared with 2018. However, Korean visitors decreased by 25.9% to 5,584,600 due to worsening political relations between the two countries.
A preliminary announcement was also made on foreign tourist spending, with the total amount spent in 2019 estimated at JPY 4.81 trillion (US$43.7 billion) – up 6.5% on 2018 and setting a new record for the seventh consecutive year.
China accounted for 36.8% of consumption when broken down by country and region at JPY 1.77. trillion, while Taiwanese tourists spent JPY 555.6 billion.
Per capita spending per foreign visitor to Japan reached JPY 158,458, which is a 3.5% increase from 2018. Consumption per Chinese visitor was JPY 210,981, a decrease of 5.3%.
Meanwhile, thanks to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, spending increased for visitors from France (up 10.1% to JPY 237,648) and the UK (up 9.3% to JPY 241,530).
Further, spending by visitors to Japan in the fourth quarter through 31 December increased by 3.2% from the same period in 2018 to JPY 1.2 trillion. Travel costs increased per person by 7.8% to JPY 170,119 per person. Both are record highs for the October to December period.
The Japanese government is hoping to provide an ongoing boost to the local economy via tourist spending with the introduction of the nation’s first integrated resorts.