When it comes to international visitors, Japan has long been the top market for Hawai‘i. And while this year continues to break records for tourism in Hawai‘i, it’s also an active year for tourism in Japan. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.
20 million and counting.
That’s the tally for foreign visitors to Japan this year—on the way to another record.
Last year was the first time arrivals for the whole year broke the 20 million mark—settling at year end at a little more than 24 million.
The Japan Tourism Agency says at this pace, the country will see nearly 30 million foreign tourists by the end of this year, shattering last year’s record with an increase of about 25 percent.
Visitor spending also hit a record last year, and it’s headed for similar territory this year.
Government figures out this week show August tourist arrivals increased by more than 20 percent from a year earlier with most of that growth coming from Asia.
China is the top market, although South Korea is having a strong year, and Hong Kong is showing double-digit gains when it comes to visitors to Japan.
This week, the head of the Japan Tourism Agency said the visitors are coming so quickly that “high level challenges are emerging.”
That’s a polite way of saying some of the country’s infrastructure needs upgrades to deal with a heavier load of tourists.
The government is considering an airport departure tax to raise money, but there’s a question about the locals.
The Nikkei News says “whether to include Japanese nationals” with that tax “remains a major sticking point.”