Foreign visitors in May dipped 50%

Kyodo

The number of foreign visitors in May plunged 50.4 percent from a year earlier to about 358,000, the second-biggest year-on-year fall on record, the Japan National Tourism Organization said Thursday.

The rate of decline, however, has been narrowing since the 73 percent fall seen in the March 12-31 period following the March 11 disaster, as foreign governments have been lifting advisories on travel to Japan, according to the organization.

April saw a drop of 62.5 percent in visitor numbers, the largest year-on-year drop on record.

The rate of decline in foreign visitors also slowed as travel agencies organized cheaper group tours to Japan, and foreigners who were studying or undergoing vocational training also returned to the country.

By nationality, the number of South Korean visitors plummeted 58.3 percent to 84,100 in May, while Taiwanese tourists tumbled 40.4 percent to 68,000. Chinese visitors decreased 47.8 percent to 58,700.

Comparable data have been available since January 1961.