March tourism numbers show 92% rebound

Kyodo

Tourism in March came close to returning to predisaster levels, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Friday.

Visitors to Japan came to an estimated 678,500 in the reporting month, down only 4.4 percent from March 2010, the JNTO said.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster last year, the tourist tally plunged to 352,666. So last month’s figures represent a 92.4 percent rebound, the government-backed JNTO said.

Compared with March 2010, tourists from China rose 5.7 percent to 130,300, the highest ever for the month. Those from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Britain and India also grew, but visitors from South Korea fell by a hefty 11.0 percent.

In calendar 2011, the number of foreign tourists declined to 6.22 million from a record high 8.61 million in 2010, the organization said.

Meanwhile, Japanese who traveled overseas in March surged 21.4 percent from the previous year to 1.73 million, the highest ever in the month.