Spending by foreign tourists in Japan hit a record ¥2.60 trillion ($21.7 billion) in the January-September period, already surpassing the all-time high of ¥2.28 trillion for the whole of last year, the government said Wednesday.
Spending in the July-September quarter totaled an estimated ¥1.001 trillion, marking the first quarter during which spending by foreign tourists has topped the ¥1 trillion mark, the Japan National Tourism Agency added.
The figures suggest that Chinese travelers continued their “explosive buying” despite concerns about a slowdown in the Chinese economy.
The number of foreigners visiting Japan is also increasing, estimated at 14.49 million between January and September, up 48.8 percent from a year before, and over 15 million as of Oct. 9, against the annual record of 13.41 million logged in 2014.
The government aims for annual spending of ¥4 trillion, compared with ¥1.08 trillion in 2012 and ¥1.42 trillion in 2013.
The increased figures are “the result of relaxation of visa requirements and expansion of duty-free items,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding the government will continue deregulation.
By country and region, Chinese travelers spent the most in the July-September period at ¥466 billion, followed by travelers from Taiwan at ¥138.9 billion and those from Hong Kong at ¥80 billion.
In the same period, spending per visitor stood at ¥75,535 on average, while the figure for Chinese was ¥143,620.