Japan's foreign tourism surge continues despite economic shifts

posted on March 17, 2016

The number of foreign tourists visiting Japan increased 36% from a year earlier in February, lifted by Chinese visitors even amid the yen's climb against the yuan.

Visitors arriving from overseas totaled an estimated 1.89 million for the month, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Wednesday. The figure was second only to the 1.91 million of July 2015. China was the top source of visitors, providing 498,000 tourists -- up 39% on the year. Traffic from South Korea jumped 53% to 490,000. Taiwan sent 349,000 visitors Japan's way, 26% more than a year earlier, while the influx from Hong Kong climbed 39% to 151,000. Overall tourism from outside Asia grew as well, with visitors from the U.S. increasing 14% to 67,000.

Relaxed visa rules and expanded consumption tax exemptions are bringing more shoppers and other visitors, mainly from Asia. Lunar New Year holidays in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere created an ideal environment for travel in February. The holiday break began in late January in China, splitting the resulting surge in tourism across two months, though numbers were still strong in February.

source by nikkei
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