Foreign visitors to exceed goal of 10 million

Kyodo

Japan is likely to achieve its goal of drawing 10 million foreign travelers in 2013 as government data showed Wednesday that the number of foreign visitors totaled about 9.5 million between January and November.

Foreign travelers in the 11 months totaled 9,499,300, up 23.9 percent from a year earlier, the Japan National Tourism Organization said.

In November alone, the number of foreign travelers shot up 29.5 percent to 839,800, it said.

The agency attributed the rise to the yen’s depreciation against other major currencies and the easing of visa requirements for travelers from some Southeast Asian nations.

By country and region, the number of travelers from China, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and India set all-time highs for November, it said.

The number of Chinese visitors set new records for three consecutive months, it added.

Earlier this year, Mount Fuji was designated a World Heritage site, while “washoku” traditional cuisine more recently was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. These developments also contributed to drawing in more tourists, officials said.