Japan saw a 34.6 per cent increase in foreign visitors in 2012. Over 8.3 million tourists flocked to the country in 2012 according to Japan's National Tourism Organisation.
Tourism officials are said to be delighted that tourism has bounced back so quickly after the number of visitors plunged in 2011, following a spell of natural disasters. Visitor numbers dropped to 6.2 million in 2011, over 2 million less than 2010, which saw 8.6 million visitors. The latest figures show that Japan’s tourism industry has nearly recovered from the March 2011 disasters.
According to an official for the Japan National Tourism Organisation the “inauguration of new services by low-cost carriers and the easing of visa-issuance conditions by the Japanese government” have contributed to the quick bounce-back in tourism.
The largest number of travellers came from Asian countries with 2.04 million visitors arriving from South Korea. 1.47 million visitors arrived from Taiwan and 1.43 million visitors arrived from China in 2012.
However, though the number of visitors has increased, tourism levels at hotels and inns in the Tohoku region still remained below 80 per cent. Visitors to the six prefectures that make up the Tohoku region came to 8,977,000, down 23 per cent from 2010. “The entire north-eastern region needs to deepen cooperation to lure tourists through such measures as developing attractive tourist routes,” said Yuji Oashi, an official of the Development Bank of Japan.
The Japan National Tourism Organisation has said it aims to attract 10 million foreign visitors to Japan in 2013. The government has also revealed plans to host more international conferences and hold high profile promotion campaigns in fast-grown south-east Asian countries to attract more visitors in 2013.
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