April 18, 2024

Foreign Visitors and Travel Spending in Japan Hit Record Highs in March and January to March, Respectively

The depreciation of the yen has led to a rise in the consumption of intangible goods for experiential services. On the other hand, various regions are taking steps to combat the problem of over-tourism and create sustainable tourist destinations.

JNTO reported that in March 2024, 3.08M people visited Japan, 11.6% higher than in March 2019. This broke the previous record of 2.99M visitors in July 2019, making it the first time Japan had over 3M visitors in a single month.

Japan had a surge in visitors during the Easter vacations and the cherry blossom season. The number of visitors from South Korea was 663,100, up by 13.2% from March 2019. Taiwan followed with 484,400 visitors, an increase of 20.4%. China ranked third with 452,400 visitors, down by 34.6%.

The Japan Tourism Agency released preliminary figures on April 17th, indicating that travel spending during the period of January to March 2024 reached a record high of 1.75 trillion yen. The average travel expenditure per person increased by 41.6% from the same period in 2019, to 208,760 yen.

Spending on lodging, amounting to 561.9 billion yen, was the largest expense for visitors to Japan. In 2024, lodging expenses increased to 32.1% while shopping expenses dropped to 29.2% compared to 2019.

Measures to Combat Tourism Pollution

With the surge in tourism, overtourism has become a serious problem affecting the lives of local residents. In Gion, Kyoto, a popular tourist spot, there have been unauthorized photo shoots and private driveways.

The Japanese government aims to boost annual visitor spending to 15 trillion yen by 2030. Alleviating the impact on local communities is also critical to becoming a major tourist destination.