Japan’s National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has revealed that there were just 13,700 foreign visitor arrivals in September, down 99.4% from the almost 2.3 million who visited in the same month last year.
It represents the 12th consecutive month that visitor numbers have declined year-on-year but the first time numbers have exceeded 10,000 in six months.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international traffic has been all but halted, although there has been a gradual easing of measures and traffic has started to resume between some countries such as South Korea and Vietnam, or for arrivals on business or residence “tracks.”
The Residence Track is a measure allowing long-term residents round-trip travel between Japan and a partner country, although the 14 day quarantine period upon arrival in Japan remains. The Business Track allows for a limited range of business activities during the 14 day at-home or hotel quarantine period under the condition that the visitor submits an activity plan. It is specifically intended for short-term business travelers.
Of the 22 priority markets of “Visit Japan”, the number of foreign visitor arrivals to Japan has stayed below 1% of the corresponding month in 2019 for six consecutive months now.
However, there has been a substantial increase in departures, rising from 3,915 people in April (down 99.8% year-on-year) to 37,137 in August (down 98.2% year-on-year) and 31,600 (also down 98.2%).