Japan doubles tourism target to 40m visitors

Tokyo's Shibuya Crossing
Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing

Having almost reached its target of 20 million international visitors five years ahead of schedule, Japan has now doubled its 2020 tourism goal to 40m arrivals.

The Japan Times reports that the new target was set in a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. As well as the ambitious aim of attracting 40m visitors by 2020, the government is also aiming to generate JPY8 trillion (US$71.6 billion) in spending by overseas visitors – more than double last year’s record total of JPY3.48trn.

“Tourism is an important pillar of our country’s growth strategy and a trump card for regional revitalisation. It is also an engine to boost growth to achieve the JPY600trn GDP goal,” Abe was quoted saying by the Japan Times. “To establish a tourism-based country, I’m determined to take any political measures in advance to be fully prepared.”

Driven by a weak yen and increased air lift, international arrivals to Japan surged 47.3% to 19.73m in 2015. The Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) had earlier set a target of reaching 20m visitors by 2020 – the year Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.

Japan’s Tourism Minister, Keiichi Ishii, was reported saying that the targets are “highly feasible”, if certain policies are implemented. These include increased promotional efforts to attract visitors from Europe, the US and Australia, opening state guesthouses, revamping the visitor experience at the country’s national parks and enhancing major sightseeing spots.

“I believe we could successfully establish a new vision of tourism that matches the new era. I’m determined to make every effort to implement these plans,” Ishii said.

And the country is aiming for another tourism surge after the 2020 Olympics, with the target of 60m international visitor arrivals and JPY15trn in revenues by 2030.

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