In December 2023, Japanese tourism authorities announced a record 2.73 million travelers. This figure marks a year of rapid recovery in tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic. This number is about 8% higher than the pre-pandemic period in 2019 and represents the highest number of tourists in December.

According to JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization), just over 25 million travelers visited Japan in 2023. The agency also reported that 2.44 million travelers explored the Land of the Rising Sun in November of the same year.

This year, it is expected to surpass the record of 31.9 million visitors, which was set in 2019. Tourism spending has already reached the government’s target of 5 trillion yen ($31.1 billion), driven by an increase in average spending per visitor. This is partly due to frequent travelers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Asian countries. These days, the level of expenditure is very high.

According to JNTO, the number of tourists from Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia increased significantly in December, reaching a record high. This helped balance the slow recovery of arrivals from mainland China. Despite the gradual improvement, the number of Chinese tourists in December was 56% below pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, Chinese travelers accounted for nearly a third of all visitors and 40% of tourism spending in Japan.

Since the pandemic, domestic tourism has become critical to Japan’s economic recovery. However, the industry faces a severe shortage of workers, hampering its ability to meet high demand. Experienced staff members are tired and overworked and lack time to train new employees.

During the pandemic, Japan implemented the world’s strictest border control system, which brought the Japanese tourism sector to a complete halt for two years. However, tourist arrivals increased sharply when the government resumed visa-free travel to several countries in October 2022. As of June 2023, there have been more than two million tourist arrivals per month, partly due to the weakening of the yen, which makes Japan more affordable. destination than others.

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