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In the COVID-19 Recovery Year, Japan Saw a Record 2.73 million Tourists in December

According to official figures released on Wednesday, January 17, Japan saw a record number of tourists in December, capping off a year in which the country recovered quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to data from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), the number of international visitors for business and pleasure increased to 2.73 million last month from 2.44 million in November.

It was the most tourists for December ever, and it was almost 8% more than what was recorded in 2019, before the pandemic.

A little over 25 million tourists entered Japan throughout the entire year 2023, according to the bureau.

During the pandemic, Japan implemented some of the tightest border controls in the world, which effectively stopped foreign travel for over two years. However, after the government restored visa-free travel for numerous nations in October 2022, arrivals rapidly increased again.

Since June of last year, arrivals have topped 2 million each month, helped by the yen’s depreciation, which lowers the cost of travel to Japan relative to other countries.

This year’s number of visitors is expected to surpass the 31.9 million record set in 2019, although Teppei Kawanishi, general manager of travel industry consultancy Honichi Lab, suggested that last year’s tourist expenditure may have already achieved the government’s target of ¥5 trillion (US$33.81 billion).

According to Kawanishi, return visitors from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Asian countries are partly responsible for the 30% increase in average expenditure per tourist since the epidemic.

“Spending levels are very high nowadays,” he stated.

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