International Visitors to Japan Increase Again in First Half of 2019Society
The estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan in the first six months of 2019 increased by 4.6% from 2018, hitting a new record of 16.6 million, according to data released by the Japan National Tourist Organization. June alone saw 2.9 million visitors, an increase of 6.5% on the previous year.
By country or region, Chinese visitors increased by 11.7％ to 4,532,500, followed by South Korea at 3,862,700. In third place was Taiwan at 2,488,800, followed by Hong Kong at 1,097,900, and the United States at 875,200.
Foreign Visitors to Japan by Country/Region
|Jan–Jun 2019||Jan–Jun 2018||Change|
Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Japan National Tourist Organization.
Relations between South Korea and Japan have been deteriorating due to issues such as World War II compensation and export restrictions. While the number of visitors from South Korea in June reached an all-time high for the month in 2019, the figures for March to May fell sharply. The suspension of sister city exchanges has had a noticeable effect, and some South Korean low-cost airlines have stopped flying certain routes. As ties continue to fray, the decrease in the number of visitors from South Korea may further accelerate.
The total number of foreign visitors to Japan has been increasing steadily since 2012, reaching 20 million in 2016 and passing the 30-million mark in 2018. The government has set a target to welcome 40 million visitors in 2020 when the Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Tokyo.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: The vermilion torii gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine are a major draw for foreign visitors to Japan, who have ranked it the country’s top tourist spot every year since 2014 on the travel site TripAdvisor. © Kei1962/Pixta.)