Last updated: 10:00 AM ET, Wed January 11 2017

Foreign Visitors to Japan Tops 20 Million

Destination & Tourism Janeen Christoff January 11, 2017

Foreign Visitors to Japan Tops 20 Million

PHOTO: Visitors are flocking to places like Tokyo. (Photo courtesy Brenn)  

Travel to Japan is booming. The country is receiving all sorts of buzz and, if you want proof, just look at the numbers. According to Japan Times, the country welcomed more than 20 million foreign visitors last year. 

“The number of foreign visitors to Japan hit a whopping 24.03 million last year, topping the 20 million mark for the first time and renewing the annual record high for the fifth straight year,” tourism minister Keiichi Ishii tells Japan Times. 

While that is an impressive number, it’s not the first time that Japan has experienced a large spike in visitation. 

“The 22 percent increase in the number of international visitors from the year before is smaller than the 48 percent surge logged in 2015, showing that maintaining phenomenal growth in the tourism sector is an increasingly tall order,” reports Tomoko Otake. 

Japan credits the surge in visitors as “a result of our unprecedented, quick and national-level measures” in the area of tourism. The country made a lot of inroads in attracting visitors last year. 

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“In addition to easing visa regulations and expanding duty-free shopping for visitors, the government has tried to reduce travel hang-ups by expediting customs procedures and promoting foreign-language signs,” Ishii tells Japan Times. 

The volume of visitors to Japan is impressive in that the country faced several hurdles when it came to attracting visitors in 2016. 

“The nation’s tourism industry, however, was hit hard last year by the yen’s appreciation and a slowdown in the economy of China, the source of more than a quarter of all visitors. The series of earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture and other parts of the Kyushu region in April also put a dent in regional tourism figures,” note Otake. 

For more analysis of Japan’s continued tourism growth, read on here.