by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 2:50 PM ET, Fri February 10, 2023
Now that the country's coronavirus-related entry requirements have been eased, Japan has set its sights on significantly increased tourism numbers, as well as increased visitor spending.
A report in Kyodo News says the country's leaders want to achieve a 10% increase in the number of overnight stays in regional areas of Japan by 2025. The new tourism plan also includes goals for increased spending by those who visit the country with the aim of reaching about $1,500 per person over the next two years. That's a 25 percent increase from 2019, one year before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and upended tourism around the world.
Japan's Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, has also established a target for annual tourist spending, which calls for reaching 5 trillion yen, up from the 4.8 trillion yen that was spent by visitors in 2019.
The new tourism plan and the goals it includes are part of the government's efforts to reach pre-pandemic levels of tourism.
In 2019, prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, a record 31.8 million tourists visited Japan. Those numbers fell sharply once COVID-19 became a global crisis, totaling only 4.12 million in 2020 and 250,000 in 2021.
The details of the new tourism goals emerge at a time when the government is anticipating increased demand for international air travel. Additionally, 2025 will bring a few major events in Japan, including Expo 2025.
The tourism plan focuses on more than just financial goals and increasing visitor numbers. It also includes strategies to address "tourism pollution" through such efforts as attracting high-end tourists and encouraging visitors to explore more than just urban centers, Kyodo News reported.
And at a time when sustainable behavior is more important than ever, the report includes targets for sustainable tourism. The details call for a significant increase in the number of areas in the country that participate in sustainability efforts-increasing from just 13 areas now to 100 by January.
The sustainability goals include requiring municipalities to meet specific criteria and receiving some form of certification regarding efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
In mid-October 2022, as TravelPulse reported at the time, Japan reopened visa-free travel from dozens of countries around the world. It also eliminated its daily entry cap on tourist arrivals, which made it easier for visitors to plan their own getaway to the country without a qualified booking through an approved travel agency or tour operator.
The move came after two-plus years of implementing some of the strictest COVID-related border policies in the world.
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