Tourism to break record in 2013 rebound: JTB

JIJI

Japan is expected to receive a record number of visitors next year as tourism recovers from the quake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of March 2011, a major travel agency said Thursday.

In 2013, tourism is projected to climb 7.9 percent to 8.9 million, breaking the record high of 8.61 million set in 2010, JTB Corp. said.

The number of Chinese visitors, however, is likely to continue falling in the first half because of diplomatic tensions over the Senkakus dispute, it said.

This will be offset by an increase in Taiwanese and Southeast Asian tourists, JTB said.

Meanwhile, the travel agency expects the number of Japanese traveling abroad to rise 1.5 percent to 18.7 million next year, resetting the record for a second consecutive year. The number this year is projected to hit 18.43 million, which would exceed the previous record, set in 2000.

Driving the increase are the strong yen and the rapid growth of budget airlines, it said.

In addition, JTB said visits to the Tokyo area will likely grow as Tokyo Disneyland marks its 30th anniversary next year.