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Foreign Crowds Surge to Japan after Borders Reopen

12 09, 2022

Foreign visitors doubled in November 2022 from around half a million people in October upon border reopening.

Since the advent of the global pandemic, Japan National Tourism Organization estimates an 80% decrease in the number of tourists. In addition, hotel employment fell 22% from 2019-2021. Service workers who found other trades after being laid off may be hard to lure back.

As of late October, the hospitality sector hasn’t recovered yet, but the government continues to find solutions. In fact, the National Travel Discount will provide up to ¥ 11,000- worth of food and travel subsidies per person per day for Japan residents in any of the 47 prefectures and Tokyo.

Japan’s COVID restrictions, one of the world’s strictest border controls, were lifted on October 11. This year, 1.52 million visitors arrived in Japan – still a far cry from the government’s goal of 40 million tourists in 2020. Most of the international visitors came from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand. Surprisingly, China, which was once Japan’s source of foreign tourists lagged due to the country’s own COVID restriction.

Japan also looks forward to reopening its ports to cruise ships in March 2023. Around 166 ships are expected to visit next year, says Japan International Cruise Committee (JICC). 

This rebound in inbound tourism is great news for Japan as they rebuild itself as a tourism-oriented nation. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida counts on tourism to raise the country’s economy, especially with the current inflation.



·       Foreign visitors in Japan surge after tourism reopening | Reuters, 2022

·       Foreign visitors to Japan doubled in October on border reopening | The Japan Times, 2022

·       Foreign visitors in Japan surge after tourism reopening | Asia One, 2022

·       Hoping to beat the tourist crowd on your trip to Japan? That ship has sailed. | CNBC, 2022