Published on Sunday, January 12, 2020

Japan posts another record year for tourist arrivals

Japan chalked up another full-year tourism record for 2019, but is well down on its original target.

It leaves its much-vaunted 2020 target of 40 million well out of reach, even in Olympic year.

Japan welcomed a record high of 31.88 million in 2019, but that was only up 2.2%, according to tourism minister Kazuyoshi Akaba.

It has posted record highs in each of the last seven years but growth has dropped to single digits for the past two years.

The major factor is the trade and political spat with South Korea which has seen inbound tourism from there shrink by more than 65% since August.

South Korea previously accounted for about 20% of all inbound arrivals.

That has led to numerous routes between the two countries being either suspended or dramatically downsized.

Even with an expected bump during the Olympics travel agency JTB Corp. estimates 2020 international arrivals will only reach about 34.3 million.



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