According to data released by the Japan Tourism Agency, the number of tourists coming into the country have hit record highs for the first half of the year.
For the six month period ended in June, 13.76 million tourists have come to Japan, a 17.4 percent increase over the last six months.
Since the JTA started tallying quarterly tourist spending figures in 2010, this is also the best quarter for tourist spending, with ¥1.07 trillion ($8.37 billion) being spent by visitors to Japan in April, May and June. During the quarter, shopping was the largest area of tourist spending at ¥414.6 billion. This was followed by ¥296.5 billion for lodging, and ¥208.6 billion for food and drink.
These considerable figures have also led to another record for six-month spending – ¥2.05 trillion ($1.83 billion) for the January to June period.
While free-spending tourists from China were something of a trend in Japan in past years, the latest numbers show that tourist demographics and shopping patterns are changing a little. Tourists from South Korea jumped up 42.5 percent to 3.4 million to lead the way during the last six-month period, followed by visitors from China, who increased by 6.7 percent to 3.28 million, and those from Taiwan, who increased by 6.1 percent to 2.29 million. Hong Kongers represented a significant boom, up 24.8 percent to 1.08 million. According to the JTA, tourists from Hong Kong and South Korea have partially been drawn by more flights being available from low cost carriers.
Spending per person dropped 6.7 percent to ¥149,248; this marks the sixth quarter in a row that the figure has gone down. For the past quarter, the top spenders have been those from the UK at ¥251,171, those from Italy at ¥233,110, and those from China at ¥225,485. British and Italian tourists tend to stay longer on their trips, which accounts for their high marks, and while Chinese tourists don’t spend quite as much as they used to, they’re still shelling out a fair amount of yen on their stays.
In the years that have followed March 11, Japan has been breaking its own records for tourism time and again. In 2015, nearly 20 million tourists visited Japan, and the Abe administration has set a target of 40 million tourists by 2020.
Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash