Japan on October 11 canceled most entry restrictions, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is counting on tourism to “recharge the economy” — especially with the yen hovering near a 32-year low against the dollar.
The number of foreign visitors, both tourist and business, rose to 498,600 in October, more than doubling September's figure of 206,500 and up 20 times from the previous year. True, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, these figures are still 80 percent lower than in the successful 2019: 1.52 million foreign tourists arrived in 2022, and in 2019 — record 31.8 million
The Japanese Prime Minister said that the government intends to earn 5 trillion yen — $35.8 billion — in tourism, however, according to experts, these are very optimistic goals. According to government data, hotel staff have declined by 22 percent between 2019 and 2021, and service workers who have already found other jobs will be hard to lure back.
Another — lack of Chinese tourists. A record 9.5 million Chinese visited Japan in 2019 — this is about a third of all those who entered the country. But due to the spread of COVID-19, China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday that cross-border group travel is still suspended.
There are also encouraging trends. Online booking volumes grew by almost 16 times between January and October, driven mainly by tourists from South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The weak yen in this case helps Japan to attract foreign currency.
The authorities of the Land of the Rising Sun said on Tuesday that they are ready to open ports for cruise ships from March 2023.
Japan closed to cruise ships after the Carnival Diamond Princess ship became one of the first outbreaks of the coronavirus in early 2020.