Japan ranked ninth most tourist-friendly nation


Japan came ninth on the World Economic Forum’s list of the most tourist-friendly countries for 2015, rising from 14th place in the previous 2013 rankings, the WEF said Wednesday.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan was second only to Australia, which ranked seventh worldwide in the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.

“Japan’s human resources are highly qualified and excel in terms of treatment of customers, where Japan is ranked first globally,” the WEF said.

This suggested a high appraisal of the country’s so-called omotenashi tradition of hospitality.

In addition, Japan was ranked second in the extent of staff training.

Japan’s success can also be “attributed to its rich cultural resources with unique cultural heritage and efficient ground and air transport infrastructure,” the WEF said.

It came first in terms of quality of railroad infrastructure, second in the number of oral and intangible cultural expressions, and fourth in the number of large sports stadiums.

Japan has also built “impressive” information communication technology readiness, launching a paid wireless Internet service with access points across the country, “which is appreciated by visitors and supports the business operations of firms,” the WEF said.

“On a less positive note, Japan is not a price-competitive destination,” the WEF said. Japan came 82nd in ticket taxes and airport charges and 126th in fuel price levels.

Spain topped the overall rankings, followed by France and Germany. Of the top 10 countries, six were in Europe.

  • GBR48

    Looks fixed-heavily and unfairly biased in favour of European nations. Japan should be a lot higher and certainly well above both France and Spain.

    Airport and ticket taxes are irrelevant when compared to safety.

  • Alfonso

    As GBR48 mentioned I think the survey was made by Europeans , are you kidding that France is the second tourist-Friendly country in the world the service is terrible , expensive , slow not to mention the terrible xenophobic attitude of locals …. Same goes for Spain .

    Japan generally is the most tourist friendly country in the world , even buying a donut at Mr Donut is a good customer service experience.

    • James

      Totally concur. Anyone who has ever lived in France and Japan or at least has had considerable travel experience in these two countries knows the reality.

      But wait, Japan is an Asian country…how can we have an Asian country as the number one in any list ;D
      That explains the ranking!

  • <3

  • jamesw

    Spain?? Out of 10 or so European countries that I have visited, the locals in Spain were by far the most unfriendly/surly/arrogant.

    • Rebecca

      I found the Spanish fantastic during my three week stay. My Japanese partner agreed. People patiently said the information several times until I was able to understand. People in small bistros kindly took time to explain to me which food was vegetarian. Free bowls of tapas appeared on the table. Delicious glasses of wine for only one euro…

  • Al_Martinez

    They are friendly to tourists. It’s knowing that you’re going to leave that makes them friendlier to tourists. I always have a chuckle when the attitude changes toward you (a foreigner) when they find out you live here (and are not leaving any time soon). They realize that tourists are easy targets to lay on the tatemae and hoodwink, but the ones who live here and are wise to their game don’t provide any satisfaction.

    • Brian Ryskind

      It’s especially funny with yakuza members I’ve met in bars, izakayas and onsens. One time while drinking with one in Hoheikyou Onsen in Hokkaido he basically laid it out that yakuza don’t bother foreigners only because they know they’ll leave and that if they enjoyed themselves more “customers” will come and spend money.

  • Sakura Suzuki

    I have never been to Japan, but is it easy to find people that could help foreigners ,who can only speak English, out?

    • Brian Ryskind

      In general English level in metropolitan areas will be higher than the national average and even higher still directly around tourist areas, but outside of that don’t expect much more than “haro, mai ne-mu izu Satoshi”.

  • Eloy89

    This list is based on tourism, not people who live there. In this case, I’m not surprised. Just go on any website and look at the top ten countries with the most frequent visitors; Who do you think will be part of the top 10? From where I’m sitting, I can guess the majority out of all 236 locations; United States, Russia, Thailand, Japan, Spain, Israel, UK, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Morocco, Turkey, Ireland, and Australia.

  • “Japan’s human resources are highly qualified and excel in terms of treatment of customers.”
    Japan certainly is second to none when it comes to service. It’s not merely a business strategy, it is imbued in their culture. But outside the high-end establishments and the most highly-touristed locations, communicating in English poses a challenge for too many in the tourism industry. Still, they are extremely nice and polite about it, and will do everything they can for you (which makes going back to the States rather depressing).