Asia Minute: Japan Sets Another Tourism Record

Jan 15, 2018

Credit MassimoAbad / Pixabay

The final numbers aren’t in yet, but tourism officials expect 2017 to be another record year for visitors to Hawai‘i. That would make it the sixth straight year for record growth. That closely matches another Pacific location that also continues to set tourism records. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Japan has never seen so many visitors, nearly 29 million over the course of 2017 says the Transport and Tourism Minister. That’s up more than 19 percent from a year earlier—the sixth consecutive increase and the fifth consecutive record high.

Most of the travel is a regional story.

Government statistics show roughly 80 percent of visitors to Japan come from elsewhere in Asia. Tourists from South Korea were up more than 40 percent from a year earlier—up by nearly a third from Vietnam and Indonesia, up 14 percent from China. Americans are also visiting more than they used to—an increase of 11-percent from a year ago.

Visitor spending is also growing, though not as fast as arrivals, up 7 percent last year compared to 2016.

Japan’s tourism has grown dramatically in recent years, and policy makers have set a goal of further aggressive growth.

The country hosts the Olympics in 2020 and government officials want to welcome 40 million international visitors to mark the occasion.

That would be an increase of nearly 40 percent over last year’s visitor count.